Maple (Bourbon?) Cider

So I’m a bit behind on the blog. But life comes at you fast. And when you work two jobs and have as many kiddos as I do, it is hard to set time aside to write on here. But I am sick so doctor (and especially Mrs. Wine) orders that I rest. So I’m sitting on the couch, mentally preparing for a day of watching football (Go Bucks) and figured I could (briefly) catch up on my blog.

A while back I made a cider. I am probably at my best when brewing fruit based drinks; that is hard lemonades or ciders. One thing I’ve struggled with is maple flavor. I’m made acerglyn before, but it doesn’t taste at all like maple syrup. In fact, it is hard to put a name to what it tastes like. It is very good. But I digress.

So I wanted to make a cider that had a maple flavor for fall/winter. Mrs. Wine found Treetop apple juice on manager’s special for $.99 a bottle. So We bought 20 gallons of apple juice for under $20. With that as my base I added brown sugar (a must with cider) and then pondered the Maple Flavor. I knew from past experience that you can brew with high fructose corn syrup. I tend to try to avoid it but figured this time, why not. So I used a couple of cups of knock off Aunt Jemima Syrup, added yeast and let it go.

Periodic samples at first indicated I had hit the jackpot. But as the weeks went by, the maple flavor disappeared.  At bottling time, I became rash and did two things without much thought. I added two teaspoons of maple flavoring extract. I hate using artificial extract but there you have it: desperate times called for desperate measures. And then, for some reason, I decided bourbon flavor would be nice so I added a cup of bottom shelf whiskey. Which in hindsight, was a mistake. The flavor isn’t there at all.

The maple syrup flavor, however, is outstanding. As time goes by, this is carbing up lightly and nicely, and the maple-apple goodness is just perfect for a cold day.

I’ll add a picture when I’m feeling better.

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