This style is rising in popularity, and while it takes a few extra steps and extra ingredients, you can make it at home and wow your friends. When pairing ice cider, avoid overly sweet dishes. Sweets will bring out the acid in the cider and kill the palate.
Follow the basic recipe with the following modifications:
- Freeze five gallons of fresh pressed apple juice or cider in a cleaned and sanitized PET carboy.
- Slowly allow it to melt and separate the juice from the ice. Do this by placing the PET carboy over a sanitized barrel to collect the juice.
- Ice cider is a difficult fermentation, so make sure to use yeast nutrient even if you usually skip it when making cider.
Dessert: Cheesecake, lemon bars
Entrée: Chicken cordon bleu, Monte Cristo sandwiches, bacon-wrapped dates
Charcuterie Board: Blue cheese, sharp cheddar, aged Gouda, Brie, prosciutto, bacon, pears, raspberries
Follow the basic recipe but replace half of the apple juice with pear juice.
Entrée: Scallops, fish and chips, tarragon roasted chicken
Charcuterie: Cheshire, mild goat cheese, Stilton, roasted pork, apple, pear, quince paste, Marcona almonds, macadamia nuts
Dessert: Apple or pear tart
Basic Cider Recipe
- 1-gallon carboy with cap
- Stopper with air lock
- Fermometer (stick-on thermometer)
- Bottle filler
- 3 feet plastic tubing
- Auto-siphon racking cane
- Bottle capper
- 10 caps (never reuse)
- 10 bottles (save empties)
- 1 oz Campden tablets
- 1 gallon apple juice (press local apples fresh yourself for the best results)
- 1 oz pectic enzyme (If you want a clear cider you will use pectic enzyme. You can skip it if you don't mind a hazy, unfiltered look to your cider.)
- 1/2 tsp champagne yeast (feel free to experiment once you get the process down) (I recommend Lalvin EC-1118; it is forgiving when it comes to temperature.)
- 1 oz organic corn sugar (If you don’t want carbonated hard cider you can skip this.)
- 1/2 cup water
- The night prior to brewing, crush a Campden tablet in about a tablespoon of water and set aside.
- Prepare a clean working area in the room where you brew.
- Clean and sanitize your equipment.
- Use your funnel to pour one gallon of room temperature apple juice into your glass carboy.
- If your juice is unfiltered, add one ounce of pectic enzyme. You can skip this step if you start with clear apple juice or don’t mind a hazy look.
- Add crushed Campden tablet.
- Float 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of champagne yeast on top of the juice for a few minutes. This should activate the yeast. After at least three minutes, swirl the bottle to mix. If you wish, place the sanitized cap on the bottle to give it a good shake. Just make sure it’s sanitized!
- Place the sanitized stopper and airlock on the carboy.
- If you haven’t already, place the Fermometer on the outside of the carboy. Place the jug in a warm place where it is shielded from light and able to stay warm, preferably between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Allow to sit, mostly undisturbed, for thirty days. During the first week you should see lots of activity: the liquid will churn and foam and your airlock will be bubbling. It’s okay if this doesn’t last a full week. If you don’t see activity, consider activating and pitching a little extra yeast.
- After thirty days, check the airlock. There should be little to no activity (one bubble or fewer per five-minute span). If you’re seeing little to no activity, it’s time to bottle. If you wish to make sparkling cider, continue with step 12. Otherwise, skip to step 14.
- Boil corn sugar in 1/2 cup of water for about 5 minutes or until completely dissolved. Cool to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add cooled sugar solution to carboy and swirl gently to mix evenly. Gentle swirling for longer is better than vigorous swirling; you don’t want to stir up too much yeast from the bottom of the carboy.
- Sanitize your bottles, caps, bottle capper, tubing, auto siphon, and bottle filler.
- Connect one end of your tubing to the bottle filler and the other to the auto siphon.
- Fill bottles, being careful to keep the siphon above the sediment at the bottom of the carboy.
- Store for three to six months before sampling, especially if you carbonate your cider.
Campden tablets are dangerous to those with a sulfite allergy. Be sure to label bottles you give as gifts, and let any guests know that your cider has sulfites. That said, Campden tablets are vital to the brewing process, so do not skip this step! If sulfites are an issue, stick to mead.
Siphoning is hard. There are no shortcuts. Practice siphoning water on non-brewing days until you get the hang of it.
You don’t have to clarify cider by using pectic enzyme; it’s purely aesthetic. I skip pectic enzyme and keep my brews hazy. Maybe it’s because I love an unfiltered beer. No, it’s probably because I’m cheap. If you are preparing cider for a competition, clarifying is an easy way to gain two points. Or if you’re photographing your cider in really gorgeous glassware, you may want it clear. Do what works for you.
If you can, buy your apple juice in a glass jug. Then you only have to use a spray of sanitizer instead of doing a full clean/ sanitize. Just make sure you do it well.
More from The Joy of Brewing Cider, Med, and Herbal Wine:
Excerpted with permission from The Joy of Brewing Cider, Mead, and Herbal Wine: How to Craft Seasonal Fast-Brew Favorites at Home (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018) by Nancy Koziol. Koziol’s book guides readers through trying their hands at home brewing. Broken into 3 sections including: mead, cider, and herbal wine readers learn about basic equipment they’ll need, ingredients, and step by step instructions to achieving different homemade brews. Readers have the opportunity to try simple honey mead, apple or pear cider, or a wine from herbs foraged in your backyard, all of which are brewed in a matter of weeks instead of months.Nancy Koziol is a lover of all sorts of fermented drinks: wine, beer, cider. She began writing about wine for two emerging wine blogs: Winedom: The Wine Dominion and Wine Turtle. She has also traveled extensively through various wine-producing climates touring, tasting, and learning. She works in Digital Marketing as chief content writer for a small firm and is working toward her first fiction publication. Nancy lives in Bennington, Vermont with her husband, two dogs, a cat, and a lot of beer. Copyright 2018 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.