At the start of October I started a series of fermentation experiments. Wine, Meade, ‘Apple Wine’ (can’t bring ourselves to call it cider), and Wok Beer. Here are the results!
Wine: We accidentally made Counter Rosé! It’s the most successful of the group, and has a bright sourish taste. It even has legs!
Mash one large bunch of grapes and collect the juices. Squish it all into a 750ml bottle and add three tablespoons of honey. Shake well to aerate. Leave open on the counter for two days, and then pitch one tablespoon of yeast into the bottle. Shake well again. Cover, but DO NOT seal the bottle (glass bomb potential). Leave to ferment for 10-14 days, regularly turning it over to mix. When it begins to clear and fermentation has stopped, re-rack the wine into another glass container.
Apple Wine (Cider): This one was quite successful, too. It even became highly carbonated naturally (and exploded all over the sink when I forgot to burp the bottle!). We’ve been using this one in cocktails, and it is great as a base for autumnal libations.
Recipe: Cut up one large, ripe apple (of any kind). Push the slices into a 750ml glass bottle. Add spices if you want to, in small amounts (especially cinnamon, which tends to burn too much in large doses). Add three tablespoons of honey and shake well. Leave open to catch natural yeasts for two days, and then pitch one tablespoon of yeast into the mix and shake. Cover, but DO NOT seal the bottle. Burp daily to release the gases inside. After 10-14 days the fermentation should be over and you can re-rack the ‘Apple Wine’ into another glass container.
Grapey Bourbon Meade: This one is still fermenting! Meade takes longer to make than the others, so I’ll let you know when it’s done in a couple of months.
Wok Beer: Well…it turned out quite sour. This is probably due to wild fermentation that I aimed for, but it’s funky as f***. Brettanomyces clearly made an appearance. It’s a bit like an Oud Bruin, a sour brown Belgian style. Much to learn.
TADA! That’s the first round of home fermentation in China. I started a new one this morning, which I’m calling ‘Freakonomics Cider’ because it contains both apples and oranges. Should be ready in a couple of weeks.
In addition to fermenting, I’m infusing quite a lot of cocktail ingredients at home. This morning we’ve got the finished product for Goji Berry infused vodka and the start for Formosa Oolong infused vodka.
Let me know if you are a home-fermenter, too! I’m always open to new recipes.