Ever wonder how apple cider is made? If you have plenty of apples and access to a cider press, you can make your own. One box of apples will make about 2 -3 gallons of cider. Renting a press is an option or you can offer an extra set of hands if you know someone with a press. I’m lucky enough to have a brother with a press and luckier still that by the time I arrived, most of the heavy work was done.
When I say heavy work, I mean picking and thoroughly washing all the apples. It’s the prep that always takes time, the rest is fun. Seeds and stems will pass through the grinder without changing the flavor so there’s no pre-cutting necessary. A mixture of varieties is fine and even desirable.
This is how the press works. Toss the clean, whole apples into the grinder. The fruit will be ground into pulp that drops into a pressing bag inside of a banded pressing tub.
When the bag is full of pulp, you slide the tub forward and place a wooden pressing plate over the top. Then the screw is tightened down to release all the delicious juice into a bowl.
The juice is then poured through some kind of filter to remove any chunks of fruit or skin — cheesecloth works but a grease spatter screen works even better. It can then be poured into containers. Fresh apple cider will naturally ferment fairly quickly so it’s a good idea to freeze all but what you’ll be drinking in the next week. Remember to leave space at the top because the juice will expand when it freezes.
The bottled cider goes to friends and family or down to the freezer in the barn and the pulp goes outside the garden fence for the deer to have a feast of their own.
Fresh cider is incredible, cold or hot but also happens to make an excellent fall cocktail.
Apple Cider Cocktail aka The Wild Turkey (for 2)
Ingredients: 4 oz fresh apple cider/ 4 oz bourbon, my preference is Wild Turkey/ Juice of 1/2 lemon/ Dash of angostura bitters/Maraschino cherry for garnish
Directions: Pour cider, bourbon, lemon juice and bitters into a shaker with plenty of ice/ Shake and strain/ Serve straight up or over ice/ Garnish with a maraschino cherry (homemade or Luxardo are the best).
Drink up and do your turkey dance, sound effects are welcome.
I think our wild turkey would agree this is the perfect Thanksgiving Day cocktail, with or without the booze.