Garden Cider is a Plum and ginger hard cider recipe. It uses dessert apples for its base. I recommend Early Gold but you could easily use Granny Smith or similar apple that has good acid but not a lot of tannins. I used some red plums that I juiced and froze in advance since they are ready over a month before the apples. Just thaw it in the refrigerator the night before and set it out on the counter to warm up. You can increase or decrease the ginger based on how spicy you like it. Also, you can place the ginger in tea bags and just transfer the tea and the bags to the secondary aging container. This will continue to add spice but ensure it is sanitized from the boil. With the ginger, it’s all about how spicy you like it.
I recommend the Mangrove M29 French Saison ale yeast for this hard cider recipe. It’s a new yeast that I have been using lately. Like most ai use, it can ferment in the warmer temperatures that I find in Southern Arizona. It has medium to high flocculation, which will help clarify this hard cider. The yeast is also phenolic with spicy and peppery notes. Again, his pairs well with the ginger adjunct.
If you find it too dry, you can back sweeten with a touch of organic stevia or erythritol, which are both sweeteners that won’t ferment. While I don’t use it often! I had experimented with stevia because it’s organic. Remember, it is at least twice the sweetness of sugar. I just started trialing erythritol and while its not as sweet as sugar, it doesn’t seem to have the aftertaste many note with stevia. I suggest embracing dry but lean towards erythritol if you need sweetness. As is my normal, I don’t use sulfites or sorbates in my ciders. If you want to add, you can always add sulfites 24 hours before inoculating with yeast and before packaging if you are back sweetening with fermentable sugars. I just try to avoid additional preservatives.
I also filter my hard ciders but you can simply age them longer, cold crash them, and/use fining to help you clarify you ciders if you don’t have the equipment to filter. The same is true for carbonation. If you want to bottle condition this cider to 2.75 volumes, you can add 29 grams of priming sugar per gallon. This should give you the 2.75 volumes assuming you didn’t degas the hard cider. If you are are not using kegs, always remember to limit your oxygen exposure, especially headspace when aging. You might want to add a little sugar (1 tablespoon or 10 grams) to your ginger tea just to produce a little CO2 and fill any headspace in your secondary container.
This cider should have an ABV in the 6.0-7.0% range. The carbonation will be sparkling so take take with your bottles. The plum gives this cider a nice amber hue. If you keep the plum skins, you can add those to the primary ferment to get even more color in your cider. I like my ginger hard ciders to burn and this should give you ca noticeable burn when you drink it. This cider will go well with hot and spicy foods, Like Indian, Thai, or Mexican but it can also be a great hard cider for burgers.
Let me know how your batch turned out and what food you enjoyed with it. If you have questions, leave a comment or check out my hard cider tips section or book for more details.
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