We have a range of cider kits available on our website and some require you to add extra sugar to the kit so that you can brew it up.
With a beer kit, if it needs you to add sugar, you can substitute that sugar for beer enhancer, spray malt or liquid malt extract. This adds extra flavour, body and interest to the finished beer.
With a cider kit, there really isn't much you can add to a cider kit to add extra flavour, body and depth to the finished cider.
Well there is. Did you know you can use 2 cans of cider concentrate. Usually when you do that, you don't need to add any extra sugar and the resulting cider is full of flavour, with a good body. We made a video and you can watch how to make a 2Can Cider Kit on our YouTube channel.
But there is another way, you can buy apple juice from the supermarket and substitute that for some or all of the sugar and some of the water.
You'll need to do a little calculation. Check on the kit how much sugar you need. In the On The Rocks Apple Cider Kit, we need 1.3kg (1300 grams) of sugar.
When you buy your apple juice on the nutrition section, you'll see carbohydrates of which sugar, this will tell you how many grams of sugar is in 100ml of the juice.
Most apple juices are around 10 grams per 100ml. The cartons I bought are 1 litre, that's 1000ml, so in the 1 litre carton is 100 grams of sugar. To get to the 1300 grams needed for the kit, that means I'll need 13 cartons of apple juice.
Now, you don't have to substitute all the sugar for apple juice, you could use 1/2 and 1/2. You could use 7 cartons of apple juice and 600 grams of sugar (or any combination you wish).
However, you need to check the ingredient list on the carton of apple juice too. If you see "Potassium Sorbate" or "E202", don't buy the apple juice. It has a preservative in it and this will stop the yeast fermenting it. Choose a different apple juice.
There are lots of apple juices out there and they all use mainly eating apples to make the juice. This will work amazingly well in combination to the cider kit which uses bitter sweet cider apples which have the perfect ratios of acids and tannins.
If you are feeling flush with the cash, then buy the best apple juice you can, but I have found that even the cheap cartons work amazingly well when combined with the kits. But remember to check the ingredients list for those preservatives.
Now it's just a simple job of opening the Cider Kit, pouring this into your fermenter, adding the boiling water, stirring and now adding the apple juice. Most kits are designed to make 23 litres, so after adding the kit, the boiling water, the juice, you may find you are a little short of the 23 litres. So top this up with cold tap water. Add the yeast from the kit and ferment it as normal in your warm place.
Once it's finished fermenting, add some priming sugar and bottle. The secondary fermentation from the extra sugar in the bottle will give the cider some fizz. This will only take a few days in your warm place, and then to somewhere cool to clear.
Once clear, chill and then pop open a bottle and serve. Remember to pour the bottle gently in one long pour, so the sediment at the bottom of the bottle stays there and you'll have a glass of delicious full flavoured cider, perfectly refreshing on a hot summers day.