Friday, December 31, 2010

First Hooch of Summer - Cherry Melomel

Cherry Melomel - Duck Style

20 liters of rain water
12 liters of cherries
5 liters of honey (this equals 7 1/2 kg honey)

Hooch making is like life - there are some basic principles that are helpful, but really, you just make it up as you go along, using what you have at hand. My recipe today is, as usual, an adaptation from the beautiful "Wild Fermentation" bible of all things fermented and good.

The basic recipe is 1 cup of honey for every liter of water. In terms of fruit, try of at least 1 cup of fruit for every liter of water. If you are adding fruit juice (ie apple or pear juice for cyser or perri) I would go for not more than half juice half honey water - but thats just me, and REAL cider is just apple juice, not apple juice and honey water.

There is a lot of fruit in this I might be able to dilute it with more honey water in a week or so once it is time to take the fruit out.

Where did all those cherries come from?

Mr Duck and I have just spent the last few days eating drinking and laughing with the Ukrainians at Orange. We stayed HERE at the Borrodell Winery / Orchard/ Trufflery in a little cottage hidden in the orchard overlooking a dam and within view of Mt Canobolas.

In case you are wondering, we didn't arrive by helicopter, and we didn't stay in those posh cider houses.....we always rent the Chardonnay Cottage because it is so cute and has such a lovely view.

Last time we stayed here it was winter, and the apples, cherries and grapes were bare. It was SNOWING.

All this rain means that the Cherries are all split. Our lovely hosts suggested we help our selves, so we did, and here they are, in a new vat of Cherry Melomel.

Thats the thing about making your own cider / wine / hooch / mead - its all those lovely words.


need I go on.

Anyway I had forgotten how beautiful and fragrant hooch making is. All I need to do now is remember to stir and coo over these two big carboys for the next 5 days or so, waiting for the wild yeasts in the air and on the fruit to really get things going. Then I take the fruit out, put the lid on and pop in an airlock and just leave everything to ferment away for a few weeks. At some stage, once a bit of sedimentation has happened, it might be good to transfer the melomel to a new carboy and leave the lees behind. This produces a clearer wine, and prevents any funny taste that might eventuate because of the sediment. And at some stage, when fermentation has slowed, its time to bottle and get those little babies under the house.

Even after just one night I can see little white bubbles forming on the surface. And the SMELL - it is so lovely.

In other news, yesterday was our first hot day - perhaps 32 degrees? The girls on the front deck were hanging out on their own front porch after a hard day.

Finally it is warm enough to get in there and see how the honey situation is going. I will keep you posted.

That is all.


rhonda jean said...

I want cherry hooch too! We didn't even buy fresh cherries this year for Christmas because they were so pricey. I'm going to try the elderflower wine soon. This post has inspired me.

The Duck Herder said...

Aw Rhonda - thats what you get for living in a tropical paradise - not much in the stone fruit department! I love cherries. When they are ripe I forgive our freezing winters for everything.

I am looking forward to seeing how the elderflower wine comes along!

Tricia said...

I am definately going to give this a go. I just harvested my first ever honey the other day - we got 50kg so I have plenty to try Hooch making.

I was actually in Young the other days and could have bought bags and bags of cherries cheaply and only bought 1! I've just emailed my Dad begging and pleading for him to go and buy me some more. Do you think it would work if the fruit had been frozen?

Marla said...

You have bees! I have always wanted to keep bees. I am further inspired by your post. I thank you. My husband, not so much.