Week 46 In the Year Of Drinking Adventurously. Pickleback – not so much a fail as, ‘eww, who drinks that?’
Briefly, pickleback –just so you know what it is and why I skipped it– is a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice as a chaser. Not appealing.
Anyway, remember the week we were supposed to drink Spanish Cidre and I ended up with the horrible, pathetic domestic alternative? Well, a fellow blogger kindly offered to help me out. My friend Javier offered to locate and ship a Spanish Cidre to me, and he totally came through. Not just with cidre but with some bonus swag as well:
And yes, my kitchen has a TV facing the bar. The giant inflatable bottle of beer will go out to the pool next summer. And, uh, ignore the mess…
The large bottle in the center is the star of the show, Gurutzeta Cidre from the Basque region of Spain.
And oh, what a difference from the sickly sweet American imposter. This wasn’t sweet, was slightly tart, but still had a nice apple flavor and it had a ‘tiny bubble’ kind of carbonation, if that makes sense. Lovely, indeed. And in the weeks since cider was the adventure, I’ve done some research and discovered that making hard cider isn’t that much different from home brewing beer which brings me to chapter two of this post.
Last Friday, my girlfriend Cathy acquired six gallons of freshly pressed cider from a local orchard for each of us to convert to an alcoholic version.
I decided to make a traditional hard cider with hints of ginger, cinnamon, and allspice. I added 3 pounds of brown sugar to up the alcohol content. I realize that sounds like the cider will be sweet but that’s not the case. All that sugar will be converted to alcohol by the yeast as it ferments. When it’s finished, the cider should be rather dry and have an ABV of about 9% which is more than twice that of a standard beer. The fresh cider is warmed to about 80-90° F, the sugar and spices stirred in to dissolve, then transferred to the fermenting bucket before adding the yeast.
Cathy added honey and sour cherry concentrate to her batch, for a completely different flavor profile. Sounds amazing, right? We’ll trade samples when it’s ready. Here’s the bad news – it probably won’t be finished for six months!
I’m going off the map again next week, too. But I haven’t a clue where I will end up! I wonder if Lula tried the pickle back…
The sketch in the header image is my own.