Yesterday, in a fit of industry, Mary and I bottled two of the last three batches of this year's cider. One was a full-batch blend, and the other was a half-batch of Arkansas Black varietal. Both hold great promise, and I find the idea of varietal ciders increasingly appealing after years of pressing grab-bag blends. We did not fine either batch, accepting a certain amount of haze in exchange for the fuller flavor the extra tannins provide.
They are nestled all snug in their bottles, waiting to make a grand entrance with the new year, if all goes well. I'm looking forward to their debuts.
To top things off, in the evening we set to work on a full batch of welsh ginger beer, a modified version of this summer's hit, "Rat Shandy."
White and brown sugar, a little extra lemon peel and juice; peel, raisins and fresh ginger all chewed up to bits in the food processor (so the raisins don't end up looking like those hideous bloated, swollen ticks--which they tend to do when left whole) and powdered ginger added for good measure.
At one point, the dry ingredients looked like a good basis for a baked holiday confection; some flour and shortening (instead of boiling water) might have taken it in a spectacularly different direction. But this morning I pitched the yeast and so it's on the way to being a fantastic and potent libation for a certain celebration we will be having in about six weeks.
Yum. Can't wait. Slainte!