At the same time that we bottled batch 2.1, we racked 2.2 into secondary with a bit of flavoring.
This cider is going to have orange peels and cherries for flavoring, to pay homage to one of my favorite ciders, Angry Orchard’s Old Fashioned. I’m not usually a huge fan of Angry Orchard, as they are usually very sweet and almost syrupy. But the Old Fashioned is very different than most of the Angry Orchard flavors. Its got waaaaaay less sugar, and lets the flavor from the cherries, orange peels, and bourbon barrel aging provide a hint of sweetness. Its pretty good.
I don’t have a bourbon barrel to age things in, and while I could look at adding a bit of vanilla extract or something, I’d prefer to keep it easier for my attempt at adding flavoring.
I bought and peeled a few oranges. To prevent anything from growing, I soaked them in vodka for a few days before draining the vodka (and keeping for some orange-based vodka drink). The cherries I froze and thawed a couple of times. This keeps things from growing, but also breaks down the cherries a bit to allow for the flavor to easily transfer to the cider.
I use a straw and an empty beer bottle to pit the cherries. I originally had a mash bag that I was going to put the fruit into, so I could easily remove it later – but the narrow carboy opening made it too difficult to use. Putting the fruit in directly is fine, but will make removing the fruits later somewhat difficult.
After adding the cherries and orange peels, I topped it off with a new airlock to let it go into secondary. Adding a bit of sugar from the cherries means that it will probably ferment a little more, but shouldn’t be too much. The combination of racked cider (minus the yeast sediment) and fruit filled up the carboy to just the right amount so I didn’t have to worry about oxidation or overflowing.
Looks pretty good. I’m not sure how long I should leave the fruit in. If I leave it in too long, then the cherry flavor might overpower everything. If I leave it in for too short, then I might not actually get much flavor. I’ll keep and eye on it and see how it goes.