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RECIPE | How to easily brew up boozy apple cider

Image: Yana Gayvoronskaya/123RF

Makes: about 4 litres

Special equipment needed:

Cheesecloth or a fine sieve

2 x 2 litre cooldrink bottles with lids, well washed


12 apples, unpeeled and quartered without removing the cores (I used a mixture of granny smith, pink lady and golden delicious)

2 oranges, cut into quarters

2 long cinnamon sticks or 4 shorter ones

10ml (2 tsp) cloves

5ml (1 tsp) ground allspice

A knob of ginger, peeled and finely sliced

4 litres of water

125ml (½ cup) brown sugar

2,5ml (½ tsp) instant yeast


  1. Place the apples and oranges in a large pot. Add the spices and ginger and pour over the water. Stir in the sugar and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 2 hours.
  2. Remove from the heat and, using a metal spoon, press the fruit against the side of the pot to release the pulp. Return to the heat and simmer gently for another hour.
  3. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a fine sieve, discarding the solids.
  4. Add the yeast to the remaining cider stirring to dissolve it.
  5. Divide the cider between the cooldrink bottles, then store in a dark, cool place. You'll know the cider is ready when the bottles become hard to the touch; this will take about 24 to 36 hours. It will be quicker if the weather is hot.
  6. Once ready to drink, refrigerate till icy cold before serving. Always take care when opening the bottles as the cider will be quite fizzy. Each bottle can be refrigerated for up to a week once opened.

A word of caution: home brews can become undrinkable if stored incorrectly or for too long. If there is any fungal growth, if the brew tastes "off" or has an unpleasant smell beyond the yeast undertones, don't take any chances: rather throw it away. Also ensure that whatever utensils you use to home brew are scrupulously clean; sterilising them in boiling water is best.