Alcohol is clearly one of the five main food groups. If you drink a lot of alcohol, you put on weight so there is a demonstrable dietary effect – great for the post-apocalyptic world…we need those calories, people.
This is a week or so ago, after an Omega Family elder flower collecting foray by the roadside. A few buckets of elder flower makes a fruity and tasty wine or champagne.
The recipe is simple:- a shedload of elder flower, 10 pounds of processed sugar or fruit to provide the base. Put in some lemon juice (1 pint) and maybe a few handfuls of either grapes or sultanas to add body. Add some wine yeast and about 7 gallons of water. Mix it all up in a large bin and leave in a warm place for about a week, stirring a couple of times per day. After a week, rack off the liquid into demijohns and leave to ferment until the bubbles stop.
Add some finings to clarify (beaten egg white does just fine) then siphon off to get rid of the rubbish at the bottom. Then use up a load of those old wine bottles that you’ve been saving – if you want to make some champagne, then dissolve a little sugar in some water and add a couple of teaspoons full to each bottle. After a couple of months, it should all be ready to drink.
WARNING – if you’re going for fizzy wine, use champagne bottles to avoid explosions!
Here you can see the first of two wine rackings of the elder flower wine/champagne. This is achieved using a plastic syphon and tubing in order to transfer the wine to a new, clean demijohn and leave behind the rubbish (lees) in the bottom of the original container. First, wine finings are added to the brew and then shaken up to mix. Then it’s left overnight so that the sediment falls to the bottom.
The first racking removes the largest particles and the second one removes all of the finer ones, hopefully leaving the wine clear and pleasant looking – not a murky wesh.
This is a pretty eclectic mix of bottles containing the first batch of cider. I have to admit that this was a total cheat, being made from commercial apple juice. However, the orchard is brimming with baby apples and the recent sun and rain have seen the crop expanding rapidly. With a fair wind, we should have a massive crop this autumn which will see us with several hundred gallons of prime, A1 apple juice and, hence, cider. Mmmmmm!