A couple of years ago, we got some apples pressed into cider, and I decided to try brewing hard cider. We loved it! Well, I pretty much always prefer a good beer, but this is much cheaper for us. So last fall, I again made hard cider and we've been enjoying it all winter, with more still aging in the basement. But I also decided to try another experiment-- cyser. Cyser is also called "apple mead". Mead is a fermented drink made with honey, and cyser is made with apple cider and honey. It takes a good long time to ferment, and then there's the fact that I am lazy and tend to procrastinate, so I just got around to bottling it today.
I made one batch with just apple juice and honey from our Amish neighbor just over the field. To the other batch, I added some fox grape juice I had made with wild grapes I had the good fortune of finding (and beating the birds to!) near the compost pile.
We tasted a little before bottling. Nathan likes it quite well, but I think it is lacking a bit in flavor. It fermented quite dry, and is pretty strong. It has a winey flavor, especially the grape version, and a slight taste of honey and apple. But there's more of an alcohol kick than there is flavor, I think. But it's still good and drinkable and I call it a successful first try! (And lets face it, I'm just partial to dark beer and Italian wine...) When I bottled it, I added some fresh ginger to one of the apple bottles, and a cinnamon stick and a few whole cloves to another. Perhaps that will provide the flavor I'm looking for. In one of the grape bottles, I also added a bit more honey to see if I can come up with a sparkling version.
I guess I have a bit of an addiction to fermentation. The surprise of the results is always so fun (or not... one of my vinegar bottles developed some mold, and one from a couple years ago smells like vomit...) and usually delicious. Hey speaking of that, I think I have some beer ingredients around... I should go start a batch.