This is a cider based on the Brother's Toffee Apple that I've grown to love so much.
It's especially suited to the autumn, particularly during halloween or round a bonfire, but goes well in the summer too.
You can also heat it gently on the hob to warm the cockles after a hard day in the winter. Add a little lemon, orange and ginger, and you've got a great cold cure.
It's easy and inexpensive to make, so give it a go!
4L 100% Organic Apple Juice
1 pack yeast of your choice. Popular choices are Montrachet, Champagne, Safale S-04 and Nottingham.
1 14oz tin Pear Halves
1tsp Yeast Nutrient
1 Vanilla Pod or Vanilla Extract
Approx 1.060 OG
Approx 1.010 FG
First, collect empty bottles, preferably green pints - enough for the entire batch.
Heat the honey in a relatively large saucepan, just on the edge of boiling (but not boiling) until it's dark in colour, and the smell resembles candy floss/marshmallows - around 20 mins.
Don't be afraid here - it won't burn the pan and stays very liquid, but it will froth up quite a lot.
Blend the pears using a food processer. If the pears come in flavored water or syrup, just chuck it all in, providing there's no preservatives. If they come in plain water, drain them first.
When Honey is successfully "burnt," take off the heat and allow to cool. Add 1 carton of Apple Juice and the pears, and stir thoroughly until all honey is dissolved and mixture is consistent. Blending in the Apple Juice and Pears while the honey is still hot will result in a cloudy "Scrumpy" type cider that will never settle. The choice is yours!
Add this mixture to a sterilized demi-john, top up with water or apple juice if need be, check gravity, and when cool enough add yeast and nutrient, and seal with airlock.
Add corn sugar/glucose or honey if you want it stronger. Allow to ferment completely.
When fermentation is complete, check FG. The honey is likely to have created some non-fermentables - mine finished just below 1.010.
Rack into an identical secondary vessel passing through a muslin bag. The ingredients create a lot of gunk, so doing this increases your yield.
Wrap Vanilla in a small muslin bag, and suspend in the cider using fishing line. Check taste every few days until you're happy - the cider should be close to settled by the time it has taken the taste. Alternatively, skip this stage and add vanilla extract when priming.
When taste is to your liking and cider has settled, bottle into pint bottles, adding 1/2tsp priming sugar per bottle.
Bottle condition for 3 weeks before drinking. Store in the fridge and drink cool without ice - prepare second trip to the supermarket to make more. Just don't drive, whatever you do.