Cider Recipe – Mr. Pink, a hard cranberry-raspberry cider

05 Jun

Glass of red/pink ciderThis cider came out sweet, fruity, and full of bubbles, earning it the name Mr. Pink. With both cranberry and raspberry flavors plus some extra sweetness, it works great as a replacement for your hard lemonades and the like (can I use the charming Britishy term alcopops?).

You could use almost any juice or fruit combination for different flavors. In this case, the red juice gives it a dramatic look.

If you haven’t brewed cider before, you may want to check out the equipment review and the review of possible ingredients. The recipe for Shane Classic walks you through all of the steps; this recipe

This cider is deliberately intended to be sweet and fruity. To make a cider taste sweet even after it has fermented, you need to add some non-fermentable sweeteners — in this case, Splenda. Adding extra sugar to the cider would promote more yeast activity, increasing the alcohol content (and perhaps exploding the bottles if there’s too much sugar in a sealed batch). Artificial sweeteners cannot ferment into alcohol, so they keep the taste sweet without increasing the alcohol potential. I tried two tablespoons in my first five-gallon batch to avoid making it too sweet. It doesn’t take much to round out the flavor.

  • 4 gallons Kirkland apple juice
  • 1 gallon cranberry-raspberry juice
  • 2 cups raspberry preserves
  • 1 tsp. wine tannin
  • 2 Tbs. Splenda (optional)
  • 1 Camden tablet (150 ppm)
  • 1 packet wine yeast (I used Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast)
  • 2/3 cup priming sugar (added right before bottling)
  • Follow standard brewing procedures.

Bag of Splenda

Even with only one gallon of cran-raspberry juice, the tarter berry flavors are as strong as the taste of apples in this cider.  The sweetness is not overpowering — making something resembling Woodchuck or other sweetened ciders might require even more Splenda.


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  1. nerissametully

    10/14/2013 at 2:15 pm

    I’m new to homebrew & confused as to why you use splenda? Is this a ‘sugar’ that yeast won’t eat?

  2. nerissametully

    10/14/2013 at 2:17 pm

    I’m sorry, I read through that more carefully and understand now. New question! Is there an alternative to artificial sweeteners I could use without risking an exploding bottle?

  3. Drew

    10/16/2013 at 8:32 pm

    Nerissa, you do have a few options. The easiest method is to kill the yeast inside your bottles (before they eat all of the sugar and burst the bottles) by subjecting them to severe cold, such as a few nights outdoors in the winter or a few full days spent in the fridge. This is known as “cold crashing” your brew.

    If you want sweet cider that is not carbonated, add sugar to your fermented product before bottling until it is as sweet as you want it to be. Bottle the batch and then cold crash it so the yeast will die and cannot eat the sugar.

    If you want sweet, carbonated cider, you have to let the yeast work inside the bottle for two weeks before doing the cold crash. Add the desired amount of sugar to your fermented product and then add priming sugar as well (2/3 of a cup for a 5-gallon batch is usually right). Bottle your batch and wait two weeks, which should be enough time for the yeast to consume the priming sugar and add carbon dioxide to your sealed brew. Cold crash the bottled cider after the two weeks are up so the yeast will die before it produces enough carbon dioxide to explode your bottles.

    I prefer drier ciders myself, but the second method above would work if you’re imitating ciders like Woodchuck or Angry Orchard.

  4. stevek1240

    10/23/2014 at 1:06 pm

    Drew, what would say is the ABV on Mr Pink?



  5. Drew

    10/26/2014 at 4:00 pm


    I use a different variant on the Mr. Pink recipe these days using a lot of frozen berries (instead of preserves) and more cranberry juice (instead of as much apple juice). The initial sugar content is roughly the same. Either way, the recipe hits 7.5% to 8% ABV when it is given a few months to reach peak dryness.


  6. stevek1240

    11/13/2014 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks Drew, I will let you know how it comes out. I might add honey to mine as well since I make a similar Apple Butter Cider and that adds a good level of sweetness and subtle flavor.

  7. TomMiller

    05/14/2015 at 3:15 pm

    Hey Drew,
    I gotter done, well almost. On 04/29 I scaled the recipe and did a 2.5 g test batch with a slight change in the yeast. I used Lalvin D-47. Yesterday 05/13 was actually two weeks bit I didn’t get to it til today. I racked off 1.25g into a small container and dry hopped it with a stainless tea ball full of cascade hops to see how that tastes.

    I bottled the remainder and of course I took a taste before adding the priming sugar and it is awesome. It’s not too sweet and not dry either. I guess the best way to describe it is, it’s slightly sweet with a suttle touch of dryness on the the tongue. I ended up with 7.81 ABV will probably pick up a point or two during carbing.

    I’m gonna piddle with it now. Maybe experiment using an ale yeast to see how she comes out.

    I just wanted to commend you on the recipe. Well Done!


  8. TomMiller

    06/22/2015 at 11:42 am

    I wanted to update. I highly recommend dry hopping. I almost messed up, dry hopped for 6 days, 3-4 would have been plenty. BUT, the unhopped is great, the dryhopped is Awesome!