Spiced Hard Apple Cider

  • Serves

    makes Five 12-oz Bottles


This recipe was adapted from True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda, Mead, Kefir, and Kombucha at Home by Emma Christensen. Sterilize every spoon, jug, bucket, cap, or bowl you use when home brewing to avoid contamination. Find tools like a 2-gallon plastic fermenter bucket with a drilled lid, 1-gallon glass jugs, siphons, glass bottles and caps, and other hard-to-find ingredients for making homemade cider at midwestsupplies.com.


  • 1 gallon pasteurized apple juice, such as Martinelli’s
  • 1 12 tbsp. Lalvin EC 1118 champagne yeast
  • 1 13 cups honey
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 6 sticks cinnamon
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 tsp. powdered yeast nutrient
  • 12 tsp. powdered pectic enzyme


Step 1

Place 1 cup juice in a sterilized 1-qt. glass jar. Add yeast and cover with plastic wrap; secure with a rubber band. Let sit until foamy, 1–3 hours.

Step 2

Meanwhile, heat ½ cup apple juice and honey in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until honey is dissolved, about 2 minutes; let cool. Transfer to a sanitized 2-gallon bucket; stir in remaining juice, plus cloves, cinnamon, star anise, vanilla bean and seeds, and orange zest. Stir in reserved yeast mixture, plus yeast nutrient and pectic enzyme; cover with lid and close the air lock. Let sit at room temperature (ideally 70°–75°) for 3 days. At this point, the fermentation process will have slowed and any sediment created during brewing will have settled to the bottom of the bucket.

Step 3

Using a siphon, decant the juice though a cheesecloth-lined fine-mesh strainer set over a funnel into a sterilized 1-gallon glass jug, discarding solids and any cloudy sediment. Seal the jug with its stopper and insert the air lock. Cover jug with a dark towel or set in a cabinet. Let sit at room temperature (ideally 70°–75°) for 3 weeks. Every 5 days, siphon cider through a fine-mesh strainer into a sterilized bowl. Rinse and resterilize the jug; return cider to jug and reseal.

Step 4

Bottle the cider: Using a funnel, pour soda into 5 sterilized 12-oz. glass bottles, leaving any sediment behind and filling to within 1" of the top or lower. Cap bottles and let sit at room temperature (ideally 70°–75°) for at least 24 hours or up to 1 month. Chill cider before serving.

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