I used to brew beer. Brewing beer is truly a labor of love and it's how I learned how to ferment. Making wine is also a labor of love but doesn't involve fire or transferring boiling sugar water.
I decided to try making a holiday wine this year - a spiced cranberry moscato. I gave it to friends and family right before Thanksgiving. Everyone tells me they like it, so I thought I would share the recipe with the world.
It's an easy process; buy a pink moscato wine kit, add a few extras, and follow directions. For those of you new to fermenting, check this out.
Mister Mike's Holiday Warmer (Spiced Cranberry Moscato)
Ingredients: Filtered or distilled water, WineXpert California Pink Moscato kit, 32 oz 100% cranberry juice, cranberries (12 oz package), craisins (6 oz), 1/4 cup light sugar, 1/4 cup dark sugar, 1 oz. vodka, 2 oz. triple sec, 1/2 tsp. of orange extract, 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean extract, 1/4 tsp. almond extract, a drop or two of anise extract, cinnamon stick or 1/8 tsp of cinnamon extract.
SG: 1.170 | FG: 0.992 | ABV: 23.36% | Calories per 5 oz: 231
Step Zero: Create a yeast starter [see here]
If you are familiar with wine making, you'll just need to add the extras at the right time. If you're not, follow the instructions on the kit and add extras as you go along.
Step One: Dissolve bentonite in 2 liters of hot water in your primary fermenter. I prefer to boil distilled water and let it cool for a minute.
Step Two A: Add the big bag of must (2 gallons of white grape juice), 2 quarts of cranberry juice, and the craisins to the bentonite slurry. Mix it all around.
Step Two B: Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 1/2 cup of white and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Add a bag of cranberries once you have a good rolling boil. Boil for 10 minutes or until they split. Crash cool by adding 1/2 gallon of ice water. Works best if you prepare the ice water and stash it in the fridge before starting the boil.
Step Three: Add the cranberry juice to the primary fermenter using a grain steeping bag (or cheesecloth / muslin cloth) to separate the fruit from the liquid. The goal is to have the fruit in something that can easily be removed - so it doesn't interfere with the siphoning / racking process. You can add weight to the bag if you don't want the fruit floating on top.
Step Four: Add yeast or yeast slurry when the must (technical term for our juice slurry) is below 75 degrees farenheit. Starting gravity should be around 1.170.
Step Five: Affix airlock and ensure your batch stays at room temperature, preferably in the dark. You should see bubbles in the airlock within 24 hours. Patiently wait for the bubbles in the airlock to slow down to around a 5 second pace (10 - 14 days).
Step Six: At this point the yeast should have converted all the available sugars to alcohol and there should be a bunch of sediment at the bottom of the fermenter. Rack (siphon) into a secondary (conditioning) fermenter. Don't get greedy ... keep the end of the siphon off the gunk at the bottom. Our goal is to have the least amount of sediment in the secondary fermenter as possible. Final gravity should be around .992 giving an approximate Alcohol by Volume of 23.36%.
Step Seven: Degas the wine by vigorously mixing with a sanitized spoon, whisk, or other implement. Add the potassium metabisulphate and mix again. At this point we're getting rid of any carbonation and using the potassium metabisulphate to make sure nothing funky starts growing in the finished product. Add chitosan and mix again.
Step Eight: Let everything rest overnight up to two days.
Step Nine: Prepare the spice mix by combining 1 oz. vodka, 2 oz. triple sec, 1/2 tsp. of orange extract, 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean extract, 1/4 tsp. almond extract, and a drop or two of anise extract. You can add a cinnamon stick to your wine, or you can add a bit of cinnamon extract to the spice mix.
Step Ten: Add the spice mix and the contents of the reserve bag to the secondary fermenter.
Step Eleven: Patiently wait three weeks.
Step Twelve: Bottle and enjoy :)