We have been asked for a little bit more information about how we make our hard cider. We follow the recipe for New England Barrel Cider, which we found in the wonderful book Cider: Making, Using & Enjoying Sweet and Hard Cider by Anne Proulx and Lew Nichols, an excellent reference for any cidermaker.
We start in the fall with sweet cider pressed at the hight of apple season. We are able to get the juice without any preservatives. We simply add sugar or honey for primary fermentation and then use uncoated raisins for the secondary fermentation. Depending on the flowers the bees feed from, the honey can impart a subtle fragrant flavor. Most raisins are coated with oil to prevent them from sticking together, but the oil will contaminate the cider—uncoated raisins are tricky to find. We make a single batch in a nine-gallon container, but we have also used one-gallon glass jugs.