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How to brew a boozy apple cider that'll be ready to drink in a day or so

It's quick and easy to make a batch of sparkling apple cider with this simple recipe - no special equipment needed

15 January 2021 - 09:05 By hilary biller
Cheers to your first batch of homemade apple cider.
Cheers to your first batch of homemade apple cider.
Image: 123RF/Oksana Bratanova

Makes: about 4 litres

Equipment needed:

Large pot

Large metal spoon

Cheesecloth, or a fine sieve

2 x 2 litre cooldrink bottles with lids, well washed


12 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled and quartered without removing the cores

2 oranges, cut into quarters

1 cinnamon stick 

10ml (2 tsp) cloves

5ml (1 tsp) ground allspice

A knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced — or use 5ml (1 tsp) ground ginger or a small knob of dried fresh ginger

4 litres of water

250ml (1 cup) brown sugar

20ml (4 tsp) Brewer's 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. Cool to a temperature that is comfortable to drink then add the yeast to the 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 48 hours. It can 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.

Making your own home brew might go against the spirit of the law, but it isn't expressly prohibited by the adjusted alert level 3 lockdown regulations. Drink responsibly.