It Tastes Like Sh… ampagne…?

This is it:  The grand unveiling of the tomato cider I started fermenting back in October!

I’ve made several batches of cider over the years, and the process has been pretty similar each time:

  1. Go through the long painstaking process of sterilizing, fermenting, racking, back-sweetening, and bottling.
  2. Wait.
  3. Wait, wait, wait, waitwaitwait…
  4. Proudly bring out the inaugural bottle, pop the top, and pour it out.
  5. Admire the beautiful clarity of the fizzy contents.
  6. Eagerly taste it.
  7. *sound of disappointed crowd booing, accompanied by derisive minor-key music: ‘wah-wah-waaaahhhh’*

Until this year, I’d only made cider out of apples, which is theoretically supposed to give palatable results.  Even so, I’ve never managed to produce anything I’d offer to anyone else; except maybe as a practical joke.

Apparently I’m either optimistic or delusional, because I keep trying despite repeated disappointments.  (Note:  No matter how bad it is, I drink the rotgut myself because I fear the Irish legend of Judgement Day*.)

Since the tomato cider was a crapshoot to start with, my usual optimism was slightly subdued, but there was still some anticipation.

The ‘pop’:

It sounds like champagne!

The pour:

It fizzes like champagne.

The beautifully clear contents:

It looks like champagne!

And the taste test:

Despite its promising appearance, I was afraid it was going to taste like something that starts with that ‘sh-’ sound.  It definitely isn’t champagne, but amazingly, it’s okay!  (You can see my surprise.)

It’s a bit weird because it has a faint but distinct tomato flavour.  Not as much as tomato juice, though, so you might not be able to identify the taste if you didn’t know what it was.  It’s fruity and smooth and pleasantly carbonated.  In short, it’s nothing like the godawful rocket fuel I’ve made in previous years!

I hate to admit it, but this is probably the best result I’ve had out of all my cider-making thus far.  Maybe I’m getting better at it.

Or maybe it only seems better because I drank the whole pint and it’s almost as alcoholic as champagne…

What’s the oddest flavour of cider you’ve ever tried?


* On Judgement Day, you’ll be suspended head-down in a barrel containing all the booze you’ve ever wasted; and if you drown, to Hell with you.

Book 15 update:  The last couple of weeks have been full of research and revisions!  Aydan and Arnie’s run-ins with the police will be as accurate as I can make them, thanks to the patience and generosity of the constable from Regina Police Service who answered my MANY questions.


41 thoughts on “It Tastes Like Sh… ampagne…?

  1. Murphy drowned in a vat of Guinness but got out four times to pee.
    Never heard of tomato cider but from your expression it turned out well. Good on ya.
    Our neighbour makes very good wine and cognac. We give him all our grapes plus he grows lots too.
    Cider, half litre, is about $1.25 in the store.


  2. Did you offer the constable a glass of your sh…ampagne for all his help? Ideally after you tried it? I’m so glad this one did the trick! Well done. I find that the less we expect from something, the bigger the chance of a positive surprise, like the one in your last video. I am surprised that the color of your tomato brew is not slightly red…


    • I was surprised, too — I was hoping for a nice pink, but I guess only the pulp is red.

      And I’d be afraid to offer my hooch to a police officer, just in case s/he turned out to be a member of the Gourmet Police. I could certainly get arrested for the flavour of some of the stuff I’ve brewed! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad the local police were able to answer your many questions to give you reality to the book and didn’t lock you up for something instead.

    The tomato champagne looks good I thought it might have looked more pink or red surprised its almost clear


    • Yes, the colour surprised me, too!

      And it’s funny you should mention the police locking me up — when I was growing up, adults believed kids should be ‘scared straight’. I was instilled with a terror of police officers that I still fight to overcome today. Even though I knew it was silly, my heart was hammering when I phoned them and asked my questions!


  4. I am SO impressed, Diane! Well done!

    I cringe at my own voice, too. It always sounds to me like a girl I knew in school who I didn’t like very much because she was kind of a snob. But I must say I can’t see a thing wrong with yours!


    • Thank you! When I was a kid, my grandparents used to winter in Texas; and that was about the time that cassette tapes were available and postage was cheap. Since everyone wanted to keep in touch and FaceTime wouldn’t be invented for another 4 decades or so, our family exchanged cassette tapes with them via mail throughout the winter. The first time I heard my own voice on tape (at about 8 years old), I was sure there was something wrong with the tape recorder. But the rest of my family assured me that’s how I really sounded; and they sounded like themselves, so I had to reluctantly believe them. My illusions were shattered early. 😉


  5. Well, I’m impressed! And btw, if it’s made from pears it’s perry, I believe. Never had scrumptious but I’d be willing to try it. Cheers!


    • That’s right, I’d forgotten about perry. I’ve only tried it once or twice, but I liked it. I guess one could make “cider” out of anything. Hmmm, wonder if I’ll have any extra strawberries this year…? Cheers! 🙂


  6. We only made apple cider, but always by accident, and it didn’t keep long, so we had to drink it up quickly. lol
    My brother and I had an exciting experience making root beer. Both of us were in high school so should have known better, but we were trying to follow the directions, carefully. It said, “for temperatures below 70 degrees F, double the yeast.” I stepped over to the backdoor, looking out at the thermometer and the snow, I could see it was clearly below 70. Unfortunately, the “no deposit-no return” thin glass bottles had just come into use and we had carefully saved ours for this project. After bottling and capping, we made our 3rd mistake. We put them in the basement with the furnace.
    About a week later, we discovered we had created root beer hand grenades as the bottles started exploding in the basement. No one was injured, but what a mess.


    • Oh, no! What a disaster! And what a chore to clean up – your house must have smelled like root beer for months.

      That’s always my fear when I’m waiting for the final fermentation after bottling. My second-hand Grolsch bottles seem fairly durable, so I hope they’d pop their tops before they’d explode; but still. I always put them inside a big plastic tub with a lid on it… just in case.


  7. That’s almost good news!!! YAY!!!

    sorry to admit that I’ve not tasted that many ciders before so you could give me almost anything and then tell me how hard it was to get that tomato taste in there like it was a good thing.


  8. Hooray for pleasant surprises.
    I did think of the Dorothy Parker quote ‘Champagne for my real friends, Real pain for my sham friends’.
    At college we drank (because it was cheap) a Chinese tonic wine called Sedna. IF you could keep it down after the first glass you were definitely alcohol affected. Captain Google tells me it was Irish not Chinese. Whatever. For a very cheap drunk it was definitely effective (but tasted foul).


    • I love that Dorothy Parker quote – I’d never heard it before! And I shudder to think of all the stuff we drank in university. I have one particularly vivid memory of Four Roses whiskey that was so vile the only way we could get it down was to mix it with instant hot chocolate powder and eat the resulting slurry. It was still vile, but we were young and stupid. The good old days… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The only time I was involved in something like this was in college. We too some grape juice and put it in a plastic gallon milk jug, added a packet of yeast, and sealed it with a condom. We put it in the corner of a closet near the sneakers and dirty clothes until we remembered it a few weeks later. It smelled a lot like vinegar, but tasted much worse.
    I applaud your efforts.


  10. “Do I really sound like that?” Oh hellz yeah, I have the same reaction to myself. Worse if I see myself in a photo or a video.

    I have no beverage experience outside of pouring things out of bottles that others have made (read: cocktails). My dad successfully made champagne (from actual grapes, mind you) for many years. I had made puree from my tomato crops a few times. The first was quite a mess (using a press), until I learned the easier way of letting them simply cook down into a mush, then dealing with them that way.

    I think one of my most gory experiences had to be the strawberries. I went down to Eastern Market and picked up two full flats of strawberries for $6. They were cheap for a reason–they were past their prime. I think tossed maybe a quarter of them, but at that price, I couldn’t complain. The kitchen, though, looked like Hellhound’s face after a run-in with some of his less savory aggressors. The pile of rejected mushy remains were more like a botched animal dissection gone wrong, and my hands, arms and shirt looked like a murder scene. But despite it all, the jelly came out fine, except for one toxic jar where the wax didn’t seal, and I discarded it when it turned a rather foreboding dark color.

    You’ll have to let us know how potent your tomato cider/champagne came out. How long before the giggles subsided? 😁


    • With me, waiting for the giggles to subside is a futile endeavor; but I didn’t make it to the ‘snort-laugh’ stage with only a single pint. Clearly my next batch needs more sugar in the primary fermentation. 😉

      Your description of the strawberry debacle made me laugh out loud! We had exactly the same experience with raspberries last fall. Our own bushes were too young to produce, so when I happened upon a ‘deal’ at the local farmers market, I grabbed several flats. Shoulda looked at them with my glasses on first. I was all for chucking the whole mess, but fortunately Hubby is more patient than I. He sorted through them and managed to salvage enough for a half-dozen jars of jam.

      I’m so impressed that your dad made actual champagne from actual grapes. Wow! I’m afraid I’m not much of a champagne connoisseur — either I’ve never had good champagne, or there’s something wrong with my tastebuds. To me, it all tastes like fizzy vinegar with a subtle overtone of cat piss. But the word ‘champagne’ sounds like it should be delectable, so I keep trying…


      • Yep, champagne from real grapes. For a spell of a few years, he even converted the garden into a tiny vineyard. At the time, we had a wine/champagne-making supply store near us called The Purple Foot, and he used to buy grape concentrate to add to his crocks. It certainly smelled better than the initial “rotting” phase when we used to have dozens of fruit flies in the basement! And I think, a few months ago, I told the tale of the corks firing at the bottom of my bedroom floor. Aah the memories!

        After all that, though, I’m not much of a champagne fan either. Interesting tidbit–anything called “champagne” comes only from a single region in France, the Champagne Region, and most countries honor the legal requirement that any type of sparkling wine made outside the region cannot be called “champagne.” So I suppose if you see some angry Frenchmen (from France, not Quebec) banging on your door demanding, “Abandonnez vos tomates!!”, you may want to just call it “some tomato bubbly cider stuff” instead. 😁

        So we’ve kind of enjoyed a Moscato sparkling wine for special occasions. I found many of them to be too bitter, but the brand that we have been buying is just sweet enough to take the edge off without being too sickly sweet, like some sweet wines can be.


        • Mmm, that’s a good idea — I like Moscato! I think I’ll do that next time, too.

          And I’ll definitely offer up a humble ‘mea culpa’ to any champagne lovers out there. Despite the fact that I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that this stuff was drinkable, there’s a very big difference between ‘not awful enough to make me hurl’ and ‘good’. I’d never inflict tomato cider on someone with a refined palate… except maybe as a practical joke. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  11. I thought cider only came from apples, and pears at a push, Diane. And I’ve only ever tried apple… the ‘scrumpy’ variety. Couldn’t see straight for months afterwards.
    I’ve learned something new about tomatoes here (which, coincidentally, also get a mention in my latest post – apologies for the plug 🙄) so thank you for that.
    Pleased your creation was palatable! 🍅😁


  12. I haven’t had a lot of different ciders, but the weirdest wine I ever had was definitely tomato, so it sounds like your cider was better than my wine, which is a good thing, the wine tasted like I was drinking a liquid version of tomato plant leaves. Blech. Thanks for the video, it was a kick to hear your voice!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s always weird to hear my own voice — my first reaction is always, “Do I really sound like that?”

      Tomato plant leaves would be a GROSS flavour! I was fully prepared for it to taste that bad, but I got a pleasant surprise. It’s nice when that happens. Rare, but nice. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.