Historically, apples were not the crunchy, sweet fruit we know today; they are often too bitter to eat. Therefore, people will press them to extract them into fruit juice and then ferment them into cider. This iconic drink signals the arrival of fall, appearing in abundance at farmer’s markets and festivals.
Although there is evidence of apple cultivation as early as 1300 BC along the Nile, whether the ancient Egyptians made cider is still being determined. However, the drink gained attention in Europe when the Romans invaded the British Isles in 55 BC.
The heyday of cider in America was cut short by Prohibition in the early 20th century, virtually ending cider production. At the same time, waves of immigrants from Germany and Eastern Europe introduced a strong beer culture. However, despite these challenges, cider is significantly returning in modern bars and restaurants.
If you’ve enjoyed making this homemade apple cider, why not take it up a notch and transform it into a delightful cocktail? Check out our Apple Cider Margarita Recipe for an adult twist on this classic drink.
Homemade Apple Cider Recipe
- Crockpot or Stove
- Cutting board
- Wooden spoon for stirring
- Fine mesh strainer
- Pot for straining
- A variety of apples Gala, Granny Smith, Red Delicious
- Cinnamon sticks
- Whole cloves Nutmeg can be used as a substitute
- White sugar, Brown sugar Honey can replace white and brown sugar with a natural sweetener option.
- Vanilla extract
- 1 Orange optional
- 1 Lemon optional
- Dice up a variety of apples into small slices. Don't worry about the size; these will be mashed later.A variety of apples
- Peel the orange and lemon and add them to the crockpot.1 Orange, 1 Lemon
- Place the sliced apples and optional citrus into the crockpot.
- Cover the ingredients with water and give it a good stir.
- Add cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. Adjust to your taste preference.Cinnamon sticks, Whole cloves
- Cover and let simmer for at least 4 hours or overnight for enhanced flavors.
- After cooking, mash the ingredients to extract flavors.
- Use a cheesecloth to strain the mixture into a pot, followed by a second strain through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher.
- Add white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir until well mixed.White sugar, Brown sugar
- Serve hot or cold, garnished with apple slices or an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.
Pro Tips for Success:
- Using a variety of apples enhances the flavor complexity.
- Consider cooking overnight for deeper flavors.
- For a smoother cider, always strain twice.
Calculate Nutrition:On average, a serving of homemade apple cider (without added sugar) contains around 120-130 calories, mainly from natural sugars in the apples. Adding white and brown sugar will increase the calorie count.
What are the best apples for cider?
The best apples for making cider are often a blend of various types, including sweet, tart, and bitter varieties, to create a balanced, full-flavored drink. While some apples are good all-rounders, using a mix often produces superior results. Here are some apple types commonly used for making cider:
- Fuji – Known for their sweetness and juiciness.
- Golden Delicious – Adds a mild sweetness without overwhelming tartness.
- Honeycrisp – Known for their crispness and sweet, juicy flavor.
Tart (or Sharp) Apples:
- Granny Smith – One of the most popular tart apples.
- McIntosh – Another tart variety that’s widely available.
- Cortland – Offers a tart, juicy bite.
- Dabinett – A classic cider apple, small but packed with flavor.
- Yarlington Mill – Another traditional bittersweet cider apple.
- Kingston Black – Highly prized for its balanced bitter-and-sweet profile.
- Ashmead’s Kernel – Offers a balance of sweetness and sharpness.
- Bramley’s Seedling – Known for its sharp and intense tartness.
- Foxwhelp is a traditional British cider apple that is both tart and bitter.
- Jonagold – A hybrid of Jonathan and Golden Delicious, offers balanced flavor.
- Winesap – Known for its spicy, wine-like flavor.
While many prefer to mix apple types for a more complex flavor, you can also experiment with single-varietal ciders to explore the unique qualities of each apple type. Additionally, your local climate and soil may impact which apple varieties grow best in your area, so it might be worth consulting with local orchardists or cider makers for region-specific recommendations.
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