Violet-Infused Cider

Flavor your favorite cider with the delicate floral notes of springtime violets.


In southern Oregon, cheery purple violets show up in February and offer the first sight of impending spring color. The timing is just about perfect for me, as I make my own cider, and the brews from the previous fall have all been racked and are ready to age. I infuse a gallon or two with wild violets, bottle one to drink, and then age the rest. As the season progresses, you might find me infusing ciders with dandelion petals, lilacs, wild manzanita blossoms, fir tips, and more. So, by the time the following fall rolls around, I have a delightful collection of tastes that capture the wildness of the past year. These ciders are especially fun to bring out for guests and watch their faces when they taste the unexpected flavor.

The beauty of infusing ciders is that you don’t have to be a cider-maker to enjoy connecting with your landscape’s flavors. You can buy your favorite basic cider — sweet or dry — and add fresh or dried botanicals. The added plant parts won’t create another fermentation, but they’ll impart plenty of flavor.


Adding Botanicals

On our homestead, my family and I purposefully make basic dry table ciders in order to infuse them with flavor from field and forest. If you also make your own cider, it works well to choose a time during the secondary fermentation to carry out an infusion. Often the botanicals that you add, especially flowers, will bring a little more sugar to the yeast, causing the ferment to wake back up. It’s ideal to add botanicals during racking, because it minimizes the amount of time you expose the cider to oxygen. You can place the botanicals in the bottom of the new container before you rack, or add them to the top of an existing container of racked cider.

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