As Epic Meat Weekend was drawing down, I cut up some cheeses and poured some apple cider to enjoy during the fourth quarter of the game. Problem: I discovered on tasting the cider that this batch was dull. It was sweet enough for my tastes, but not at all tart, and I love me a tart apple cider.
Science to the rescue! Back during my cheese ball obsession I ordered a pound of malic acid online, and had not yet had occasion to open it up. Malic acid is what gives properly tart cider its taste to begin with, so basically this was a matter of adding in what the apples themselves had failed to provide. So I sliced open the bag and took about half a plastic spoonful of the stuff, and mixed it in with about 12 oz. of cider that I had left in my cup. The result was not 100% as tart as I like it, but it was much closer to what I wanted. I could have kept going a little more but didn’t see the point, as it was good enough. I did however add a couple of spoonfuls to the half-gallon jug it came from.
So if you should ever find yourself wishing your cider had more bite to it, pop in some malic acid and stir it up well, and if it’s not enough, pop in a little more.
Malic acid can be hard to get online—I had to run a gauntlet of canceled orders on Amazon before someone finally came through and actually had some as advertised—but it’s worth having around for these occasions.
Citric acid also has its place if you want to tarten up some lemonade, and it can be found in the canning section of any good grocery store or Walmart. If you want to add tartness to something orange flavored, try mixing in about 6:1 citric to malic acid; I read some time ago that oranges contain 15% malic acid out of their total, so maintaining that ratio should provide for a more authentic orange flavor.