Hello, again, Gentle Reader.
In honor of both the holidays and the dropping temperatures, I decided this past weekend it would be a good idea to make homemade apple cider.
First, finding a recipe for homemade apple cider is an ordeal unto itself. There are few recipes I could find online. Most recipes I found require you to just purchase apple cider and spice it instead of making it from scratch. I wanted the challenge. I wanted to enter the foray of those who had gone before me. I was determined to make homemade apple cider.
After an hour of searching on Google, I finally found a recipe that I thought I could make:
As you can see from the recipe, it says that you do not need to peel or core the apple. I am always suspicious of that direction, so I cored it anyway. I did leave the peel on. Michael was using the big pot to make chilli, so I abandoned the instructions in the recipe and put it in a crock-pot on high for five hours.
The recipe calls for someone to use cheesecloth, place the spices in the cheesecloth, and let it soak in the water bath. Now, I have no idea what cheesecloth is or where to buy it. Supposedly Michael knows, but I am not convinced he has received directions to “The Cheesecloth Store.” The grocery store up the street does not sell cheesecloth either, so I’m stuck improvising.
Now, I switched out of engineering and into English when I was in college, so creating a replacement for cheesecloth is a Herculean endeavor.
Michael, however, inherited Hercules’ skills and can create a bomb out of three paperclips and a wire. He MacGyvered a teabag into cheesecloth. He was busy making chilli, so I’m stuck with practical application of this little magic act. Little known fact about Twinning’s tea bags: they’re open at both ends.
I did not realize this until a large pile of brown powder was on my floor. I’m contemplating how it looks like gunpowder, before I realize it’s actually loose-leaf tea. Muttering, “Fuck,” I emptied the rest of the tea bag over the sink and cleaned up the mess. I put the nutmeg and cloves into the bag without making any more of a mess and into the cider it went. Thankfully, I do have actual cinnamon sticks, so I could place those directly into the crock-pot without causing my kitchen to explode. As the cider’s aroma wafted through the apartment, I thought I was in the clear, and, maybe, just maybe I had avoided my usual kitchen curse.
I am not that lucky. While on the phone with my dad, the handle to the crock-pot broke off. Michael and my dad started to freak out a little bit about metal getting into the apple cider. My dad hung up on me, and Michael yelled at me not to open the pot. He was too busy stirring the chilli to help me.
I grabbed a knife and shimmied the lid off the crock-pot. It lifted just enough for me to reach my pinkie under the pot to pull the lid off. I grabbed a spoon and searched the mixture for medal, which is essential less exciting version of bobbing for apples. However, Michael swore I had to do this so I wouldn’t drink metal scrapings like something out of Saw IV.
No metal got into the mixture, thank God, and we put the lid back on. The tea bag busted and the spices mixed in with the apples. This didn’t seem like it would be a big problem, although the recipe begged to differ.
About eleven, when I finally was ready to strain the mixture I realized I didn’t have a cheese cloth. This is not the first time that I’ve realized as I’ve been making beverages that I needed cheesecloth. I still don’t know what this is or where to find one. I figured I would just drain the cocktail in my strainer and put paper towels over to let the drink strain. This worked well until the paper towel broke, and I just gave up. I let the cider drain with whatever chunks fall into the cider and hope for the best.
I spiked it with Apple Jack. It was a good combination, although whiskey, rum, and unflavored brandy are all options.
I realized why there’s no homemade apple cider recipes online anymore. Just buy it.
Unless you have apples that are about to go bad, go to the store. According to one website I read, you have to use 32 apples to make a gallon of cider. It is cost and time effective to buy it. If you are dead set on making it, the recipe definitely worth trying out, just a lot of unnecessary work when you can buy it for the same or less price. As Michael said when perusing William Sonoma, “I think this cider cost less, but not by much.”
Anyway, Merry Christmas, and, as always, happy and safe drinking.