There is something about cider that makes me long for the fall season. Is it the golden brown color that reminds me of fallen leaves? Or the aromatic flavor that tastes best after a long walk through the woods? Or the brave sailor stories that bubble to the surface when looking at a full glass? Who knows…
Cider Festival Amsterdam
Anyway, I could not resist to visit the Cider Festival in Amsterdam last week. Apart from the tastings, I was looking forward to the workshop Make Your Own Cider by Raúl Henriquez (owner of the Ciderwinkel) and Wouter Bijl (owner of CiderCider). Both of them are working hard to put cider on the map in Holland, with succes.
Hard work & many hands
Especially the grinding of the apples in the cider press caused some funny scenes. Hard work was involved. Many hands were needed to grind the apples into pulp. The choice of the apples turns out to be crucial for the process. In the Netherlands it’s best to use hand apples, preferably from trees with long stems (hoogstambomen), that are not treated with chemicals.
The perfect apple mix
When mixing the perfect combination of apples, balance is the most important thing. For the Dutch cider made by Giel a combination of Rode van Boskoop, Elstar and Topaz apples is used. “The Rode van Boskoop has a strong flavor and a high level of acidity, Elstars are sweet and the Topaz is very aromatic.” According to Raúl you need the combination of strong, sweet and sour to make a good cider. For the home brewers he made up a 5 minute recipe for cider that I love to share with you.
Make your own apple cider recipe
1 litre fresh apple juice (not from concentrate)
1/2 bag of yeast from a brewery store (a bag contains about 7 grams)
100 grams of sugar
an empty plastic bottle
a nice looking glass bottle
Pore the fresh apple juice into the plastic bottle. Mix the yeast with a few teaspoons of warm water. Add this to the apple juice. After a week or two the bubbling (fermentation) will stop and you can pour the cider into a nice looking glass bottle. The cider is ready to drink now and has an alchohol percentage of about 5 percent. Cheers!