Making Hard Cider The Easy Way

I’ve got a couple of jugs of wine bubbling away and wanted to share another fermentation project I’ve got on the go; cheap and simple hard cider. I just started this the other day so it will be done in time for the holidays. While there are lots of books and websites with a lot of details on how to make your own alcoholic beverages at home, sometimes they have too much detail. If you’ve never made wine or beer before and want to try, this is a good first project.

You’ll need a 1-gallon glass jug of apple juice or apple cider (the difference between the two lies in filtering), an airlock and drilled rubber stopper (size 6), a packet of champagne yeast and one cup of sugar.

  • First clean the bung and airlock. You can pour boiling water over them to do this. It isn’t perfect, but it should be ok for now.
  • Then open the apple juice and pour yourself a glass. You want the level of liquid in it to be less than full by 2-3 glasses in order to keep the bubbles from getting into the airlock.
  • Next add the yeast packet and a cup of plain table sugar to the jug. Put the cap back on and shake it up, then take the cap off.
  • Lastly, put the bung and airlock on top of the jug. Now gasses can escape from the jug, but no oxygen can get in; perfect conditions for making alcohol. Find an out of the way place to put your jug that’s not too hot and not too cold. It should be between 60 and 75 degrees. Then wait. It takes some time for the yeast to convert all the sugar into alchohol.

If you get it started this week, it will be done for a holiday celebration.  I’m assuming you’ll have some friends over and won’t bother bottling the cider, just serve it from the jug.  There will be some sediment on the bottom of the bottle, so when you pour it try not to mix this in with the cider.  If you get into doing this there are much more refined techniques, but this will get you started.

So for less than $15 you’ll have a gallon of homemade hard cider, and the jug and airlock can be used to make thousands of gallons more.

Here’s a link to another simple recipe for making your own wine from the author of The Joy Of Home Winemaking: Winemaking 101.

Good luck and let me know how you make out.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Shannon Reese

    Thanks for posting this Tim. I used to make beer but I became concerned with the high energy input and water usage. This seems like a more practicle alternative. And about the Amanita muscaria picture, I’ve only seen the yellow variation in my area. (Southern NJ/Mid Atlantic) I thought the Red ones are only on the west coast? I guess not.

  • Thanks for the comment Shannon. I usually see the yellow/organge one in ME/NH as well. Not only was the one in the photo giant, but also more orange/red than orange/yellow.
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