If you want champagne, I can’t help you, because I don’t know how to make champagne. But if you prefer the non-alcoholic sort of bubbly, well then, you’ve come to the right place.
It’s actually incredibly easy to make your own sparkling cider! All you need is apple cider syrup and seltzer water.
Apple cider syrup? “What’s that?“, I hear you ask. I’ll tell you. It’s essentially boiled down apple cider. That’s it. Apparently, according to Foodie With Family, the early colonists boiled down their cider to preserve it throughout the winter and beyond following the apple crop season. They could have cider anytime, simply by reconstituting their apple cider concentrate.
There are a lot of applications for apple cider syrup, and it’s gaining momentum in foodie and food blog circles, and in my opinion, it’s worth keeping some jars of this stuff in the house year-round! Foodie with Family suggests a variety of usages, some of which I’ve tried, but I’m going to share with you her favorite, which is seriously the bomb.
But first, let’s make the cider syrup. Most of the posts I’ve read about it involve using large amounts of apple cider and boiling it away – on high! – for hours. Number one, I don’t have hours to babysit the stove. Number two, I don’t want the stove on high for hours. Solution? I just make less at a time. Works for me.
Honestly, though, it doesn’t really matter how much you start with, as long as it’s at least about 2 cups. The point of boiling it is to reduce it, so you want to start with enough so that you can substantially reduce it. From there, you can boil several gallons at a time if you have a large enough pot. And apparently it can be processed and stored in the pantry, but I just keep mine in the fridge.
Here’s how you do it:
Pour at least 2 cups of apple cider into a large pot on the stove over high heat. Use a ruler, or mark a wooden spoon, to note the level of your apple cider before it begins to boil. Bring to a boil and allow it to boil undisturbed until it is reduced in volume to one seventh of the original amount. (I didn’t twist my brain in circles trying to calculate exactly how much one-seventh was or is. I just looked for a syrupy texture that was quite a bit less than what I started with.) The ruler or marked wooden spoon will help you determine when it’s boiled long enough. Be careful, though: it goes very quickly from syrup to sludge, so the first few times you make it, watch closely until you get a good feel for the timing and the proper texture. You’re looking for an almost honey-like consistency, a slight thickness, but still pourable.
Once you have your apple cider syrup, making sparkling apple cider is a breeze! All you have to do is stir 1 TBSP of the cider syrup into a glass of cold seltzer water. Serve it over ice, if desired. I sprinkled a few fresh cranberries into mine for visual interest.
Once you have a batch of apple cider syrup made, the sparkling cider itself is so QUICK. And the great thing is you can make the cider syrup any time, even a month before you need it.
It’s very EASY, too. There is a trick to boiling the cider the right amount of time, but once you’ve mastered that it’s no big deal. And once that’s made, even a kindergartener could fix a glass of sparkling cider! If you wanted your kindergartener in the kitchen unattended, which I wouldn’t. Just sayin’.
It’s CHEAPer than buying those over-priced bottles of sparkling cider and grape juice. A huge bottle of seltzer water is usually less than $1 at my grocery store, and I can usually get a whole gallon of cider for $4. According to my calculations, a gallon of cider reduced by 7 is 2.25 cups, which is 36 TBSP-sized servings. That makes it about $0.11 a serving. Add that to the seltzer water, at $0.13/serving, and it’s less than $0.25 for each glass of sparkling cider. Compare that to the bottles of cider that only have 3 servings and go on sale for $2.50-$3! (Now, unpasteurized organic apple cider is a lot harder to come by – usually only available at farmer’s markets during apple season – and more expensive, about $6 or so. The beauty is that it can be reduced to syrup and preserved for the rest of the year!)
It’s much HEALTHY-er than some store-bought versions. Although Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider is all natural with no added sugars, the same cannot be said for other varieties, which often contain high fructosed corn syrup and other evils.
Sharing at Katherine Martinelli’s DIY Blog Hop.