Honey? I like honey… Cider? I like cider…
My wife and I split a 22oz Crispin Honey Cider at lunch today, and I have to say – and did – I could totally pull that off. In fact, not pulling that off is probably harder. Having never ordered it, just going on the name of the drink, I wasn’t sure what to expect – except a sweetly flavored apple beverage.
First, the honey is not a very strong component of the flavor (and I verified with my wife, who quite agrees). I expected a cleared beverage, since it is very uncommon to find a commercial product that isn’t – and this one isn’t. The front of the bottle describes it as “unfiltered” from freshly-pressed apple cider. I don’t know what unfiltered really has to do with it. The stuff was full-out opaque. A pretty pale-yellow, but opaque. The back was more clear – this is a fermented drink made from the first racking. And while not being quite as “yeasty” in flavor as my taste-tests of early mead or apple wine, it is pretty similar in taste and exactly the same in look and feel.
It is definitely carbonated, and big bubbles – so not sure it is natural carbonation through fermentation. But I imagine it would be easy enough to reproduce. First, ferment to the first racking to get about the ABV you want (the Crispin was 6.5%). Then, crown cap (lovely 22oz, dark-brown bottle) and give some time for it to build up carbonation – but not too much. Then, to make sure it is done, I would likely pasteurize it. I’ve never done that myself – but I have read numerous recipes for sweet carbonated ciders/beers attempting to go this route. Obviously, the finesse is in the amount of time to carbonate, the amount of time before racking, and the amount of sugars (whether natural in the cider or added honey/sugar) in the initial must. Those make the recipe. But I am inspired by the simplicity of the idea – though I doubt that such an uncleared drink has a truly wide audience among a public that expects crystal clear ferments.
That’s it. No “Fermentation Log” recently since everything is in the longer, secondary fermenting stage. In fact, I’m out of town right now – first, because of the death of my grandmother which has taken me to Virginia for the funeral. And second because immediately after getting back to South Carolina I am headed to Portugal – land of Ports (I will actually be in Porto) and many other yummy things – for the remainder of the month. We’ll see how things are settling out once I return!