Sunday, October 18, 2015

Apple Hooch

Several years ago while spending Christmas in Phoenix, we'd tried a homemade alcoholic apple beverage that we all decided to call "hooch" for lack of knowing what it was or how it was made - it was just gifted to someone.  Everyone at the house loved it and we went home, determined to figure out something comparable!

So we came up with this recipe... and it's awesome!  I'm not really an alcohol drinker myself, but I can get behind this hooch!  Last year, we made a big batch and gifted them out.  This year, we've made a big batch already... and gone through 3 bottles ourselves, heheh.  I think we're going to have to do another batch up if we want to give any away.  Why we didn't get a recipe posted last year, I have no idea.

This would be a great treat to take to any houses you visit for the holidays!  Or to have for your company if you're hosting holidays.  Justin's family is expecting to visit us for Christmas this year and I have a feeling they will now be expecting apple hooch!  We better save a few bottles!

I just said to Justin, "What tunes do you want to use?"  He said the Buzzcocks, and then when I began looking something up, he goes, "Wait!  Have we used Tiger Army's "In The Orchard" yet?"  Haa!  Apropos.  -jen

Cinnamon, allspice, cloves, star anise
Prep Time: 20 minutes plus cool down time 
Curing Time:  3 weeks 
Makes:  5.5- 750ml bottles (about a gallon and a quart)
  • 2 large whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 8-10 allspice berries
  • 5-7 whole cloves
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 gallon of fresh pressed apple cider
  • 1 large bottle (750ml) Everclear, 151 proof 
Place whole spices in a large stock pot and warm over low heat until they perfume, 3-4 minutes.  Add apple cider and sugars; stir until dissolved.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temp (a few hours).  When cool, add the Everclear and stir to combine.  Strain out the spices and pour into glass storage containers with tight-fitting lids.  Store in a cool, dry place for 3 weeks or longer.  (It gets smoother the longer you let it sit.)

Local Cider
Serve cold over ice (we keep the bottle in the fridge once we open one), or warm up and add a little Tuaca to it (vanilla brandy).  You could totally make it mulled (we find pre-made mulling spice in our co-op's bulk spice aisle).  Justin even speculated that it would be tasty in a sangria!  If you warm it up, don't "cook" it too long or you'll cook out the alcohol!

Note:  We did the conversion of alcohol content once the cider was added, and it comes to about 12%, which is comparable to most wines.  If you wanted less alcohol, you could substitute 80 proof vodka for the Everclear and you'd get a hooch that's about 6% alcohol, which is more like an ale.


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