In this house, tea was all I could expect. But I craved something stronger.
Apples are available in abundance, as is fresh cider. So if I could just hold my cravings at bay, patience could be rewarded by hard cider.
The process isn’t hard, it just takes time, reasonably clean equipment, and a cool place to let it run.
And a chance to work unobserved, as the result will not be tea.
A long history of fishing has taught me patience, so all I really lacked was the needed quiet. I was able to buy a few buckets under the guise of improving the cheese room. My success there left me confident that the cheese room would also provide the quiet, cool, and dark space where the cider could be left to ferment.
So I worked into the cheese schedule a chance to clean and sanitize the fermenter.
Smuggling in a few gallons of cider was not as difficult as I feared. I stole some yeast from the kitchen. A brewer’s yeast would be superior, but baker’s yeast will do in a pinch. When I finally got to start it, I was shocked at how fast the yeast set to work. In the couple of hours I spent starting a new batch of cheese curd, it went from still to bubbling. Things were looking up.
I did mention patience, though. And patience was certainly needed. A week later, it was still bubbling like mad. We had finished putting up the season’s cheese, so excuses to go to the cheese room were running dry.
Two more weeks, and the bubbling was down. The cider was a little cloudy, so I reluctantly let it settle for another week.
Finally, I had some free time to work, and bottled up my batch. I took the chance to try some while washing up the fermenter and finding a corner among the cheesemaking gear to stow it for next time.
Definitely not tea.
Oh, my, that was not tea.
I had to go for a walk after finishing a pint. A raven caught me on my path, tried to convince me I was a Prince hidden in the country as some kind of absurd fairy tale backup should the kingdom to to hell in a handbasket. That was interesting enough until I sobered up enough to remember that we don’t live in or near a kingdom of any sort, and that talking ravens are not usually seen in these parts.
Nope. That is not tea.