|The top two categories are largely theoretical.|
But mostly flavorless isn't flavorless, and if you need to concentrate flavor what better [legal] way than fractional freezing? So I froze a mason jar of the cider, let half of it thaw, and removed the remaining ice. (Yes, there are better and more careful ways of fractional freezing; like I said, I am not a successful home fermenter.)
With half a mason jar of homemade applejack, I reached for some rye and had a drink. It was okay, but of course the applejack is a lot closer to water than it is to whiskey, so it was more like a highball, or maybe an olde tyme sling (equal parts spirit and water). What's wanted is a hot applejack-and-rye toddy with perhaps a splash of ginger syrup.
|With a cask proof rye, this is approaching servable.|
- 3 oz. applejack (jacked hard cider, not Laird's)
- 1.5 oz. rye whiskey
- 0.25 oz ginger syrup
To make the toddy, warm the applejack in the microwave in a small, microwave-safe mug. Add the rye and syrup, stir. Serve with a cinnamon stick.
After I racked off the cider, I had an empty half-gallon jug and an air lock. What to do but try some small beer?
Why small beer? I wasn't prepared to try to make regular beer again (I'm not even prepared to talk about the times I've tried to make regular beer). I'd read about small beer and spruce beer and whatever-you-got-around-your-farmhouse beer in Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England, and I didn't have the patience to wait till I found some sassafras root to try making hard root beer. (Spruce beer, like gin, falls under the law, "Pine trees aren't people food.")
According to the Internet, George Washington is the only person in the world who ever wrote down a recipe for small beer, so I adapted his by steeping molasses, hops, and oat bran in simmering water, then pitching some of the remaining apple cider yeast (not a successful home fermenter) and setting it to ferment. I checked it after several days, reckoned it a failure, and planned to chuck it when I had a few minutes unobserved. I then left it (or "forgot it"; that works in this sentence too) for another two weeks, much longer than the week Washington ordered (not a successful home fermenter).
|Taste, schmaste. Admire the color.|
The explanation, I think, is that the hops (bought at MD Homebrew with the yeast) make the thing smell, and even sort of taste, like beer. Maybe sort of in the way if you drank vegetable oil you might think of french fries. As a small beer (with, if I had to guess, too little yeast to begin with), it's weak stuff; it's also bitter and cloudy, so... Flip Time!
Small Beer Flip
- 8 oz small beer (since you don't have small beer, use a porter, which will taste better anyway; just make sure there's no carbonation left before you start flipping it)
- 2 oz. rum (I'm using my barrel aged rum, but any kind will do)
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs sugar