One of the questions I see the most regarding keto diets is what you can drink as far as booze. The short answer is that beer is out, hard liquor is in, and wine are sort of provisionally in. I say “provisionally” because it really comes down to the style in which they wine is made. It runs a continuum from keto-busting sweet to totally bone dry. Hard cider is much the same situation, but there are few if any options as far as “keto hard apple cider” in stores.
So, why is that? I think there is an excellent answer, but for that answer to make sense, we need to talk a little about wine.
There is a lot of terrible information “out there” attesting to varieties of wine being “keto” or not. All varieties of grapes can be made into wines of varying sweetnesses by adjusting the point where fermentation is halted, leaving varying amounts of what is called “residual sugar”.
The best way to know exactly how much sugar you are consuming is do a little research online. Many makers now publish residual sugar information on a wine “tech sheet”. Here is an example sheet for J Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, which has a residual sugar amount of .2g/100ml, or 1.5g for the entire bottle.
So, wine is fermented grape juice. Hard apple cider is fermented apple juice. Why are there lots of really dry, keto-friendly wine and little in the way of keto hard apple cider?
The answer is the same reason why there are still so many sweet wines. It can soften the edges of a borderline wine and hide its flaws. Or in other words, sugar tastes good to (most) people.
The same rules apply to a potential keto hard apple cider. Sweet ciders sell, and with it being a much smaller total market for it, no one has broken through to mass-market success with a super low sugar, keto hard apple cider.
So, I did what I always do. I said, “Screw it. I’ll make my own.”
I’m going to do something a little bit different for this recipe. I’m going to post my planned procedure and then update everyone on social media on the run up to Thanksgiving (when I traditionally make hard cider) as to how things are going.
To shoot for the lowest possible residual sugar numbers (effectively zero), I opted for champagne yeast which should consume all the sugar in the apple juice except for some trace unfermentable sugars. At that point, I plan on testing a few different versions with different amounts/types of sweeteners and flavorings. So, I basically am going to be drinking a lot in your name. I’m a giver.
Keto Hard Apple Cider
- 1 gallon apple juice Get one in a glass jug!
- 1 packet champagne yeast
- 1/2 cup erythritol (optional -- please read the instructions!)
- stopper for airlock Be sure it is the correct size for your bottle!
- 1 ounce unflavored vodka
Open the apple juice jug and measure out about 1g of yeast from the packet. Dump it straight into the jug. This is probably about 1/5 of the packet, which are enough to make 5 gallons.
Seal up the glass jug of juice completely with the airlock. Use the unflavored vodka to fill the airlock. This will help reduce the chance of contamination if there is any backflow from the airlock liquid.
Store in an area at room temperature for about two weeks, or until the airlock bubbling slows to a stop.
Put the whole thing in the fridge until cold, which will bring any fermentation to a total stop. You can remove the airlock and replace the original cap once it is fully chilled. I still open and close it quickly once a day to to release any pressure.
Sweeten with erythritol according to taste at this point if you like. I'm planning on adding about a half cup of erythritol to the whole batch. If you are unsure, start with smaller amounts and then add more if you like. You can't take it out once it is in!