I often have trouble deciding what to order when we go out for drinks with our friends. Beer can be refreshing, but it is pretty heavy and after one I need a nap. I like cocktails, but I am a lightweight and I would prefer something with less alcohol so that I can have more than one. Wine is great, but it gives me migraines and I haven’t been able to drink it for a while now… enter: hard cider. It is the perfect drink for me because it is light and refreshing, gluten-free, and low in alcohol. I have really fallen in love with it.
I first had hard cider in France while on a visit to Normandy. The region is famous for it, and with good reason. We would drive around the bucolic countryside, through miles of apple orchards, and pull over at one of the many “degustations” offering tastes. I have actually been to the town of Calvados, where apple brandy is made, and wished that someone here was making a product of equal quality.
I think that a lof of Americans are afraid of cider because they think it is too sweet. The few brands we have been able to get here are overly sweetened and (to my palate) undrinkable. But, recently there has been a cider renaissance in Washington State, and now there are quite a few good (and great) ones to choose from. But, you know me, I love to make everything from scratch and so why not cider? I mean, our forefathers made it themselves (John Adams was known to drink a tankard of it a day, lucky man), so I know it can’t be that hard.
And you know what? It isn’t hard at all. Actually, the apple juice we started with had a warning label on the bottle that said to keep it in the fridge else it could turn alcoholic. So really, it just simply could not be easier to make this stuff. We now have our first batch fermenting down in the basement, and for this batch we are experimenting with two different yeasts to see which we prefer. Once we get our baseline taste profile then we can add fun things to the cider, like ginger or lemon or whatever we decide would be fun. If you want to be involved in some of the tastings we will do send me a message and I will put you on the list.