I’m always interested in simple, quick, boozey experiments that I can do in my limited-space apartment. If you are too, then grab a gallon of apple cider and a little yeast, and you too can make booze at home.
I had conceptualized with some friends the idea of making hard cider from store bought pressed cider. If you can find unpasteurized cider, then turning it into alcohol is as simple as leaving it out of the fridge. But your average, grocery store cider will work, too. Mike suggested buying some champagne yeast and following Alton Brown’s directions for Ginger Beer.
The Whole Foods in Manahattan carries brewing supplies in their beer section; so all it took to acquire the correct yeast was a quick conversation with a knowledgeable clerk (my trips to Whole Foods are becoming less and less painful; I wonder if I’m gentrifying?). He sent me away with “White Labs Pitchable Liquid Yeast,” a champagne yeast in a test tube. The entire tube is enough for five gallons of booze.
After swinging by the grocery store to pick up a gallon of cider, I returned home and helped myself to a glass. I needed to make room in the jug for the yeast to expel gas. Then, I tipped about a tablespoon of yeast into the jug. Following Brown’s instruction, I capped the jug, shook it up, and left it out on my counter for 48 hours. Then, I put it in the fridge for two days, popping the lid off to release the carbonation once a day.
It was as simple as that. After four days, I poured myself a glass and it tasted just like store bought hard cider. It had a bit of a thicker mouth feel, and the nose was reminiscent of apple cider vinegar (now more so, after sitting in the fridge a couple more days). It wasn’t very carbonated, but did have a few bubbles and felt zingy on the tongue. I think if I had brewed it in a glass jug, it would have carbonated better (Home brewers? Is that true?)
I have no way of testing the alcohol content, so I don’t know if I could actually get sloshed off of my homemade cider; but it was fun to do and it tastes good. Give it a whirl yourself, and let me know how it turns out!