For many years I played in a band and worked the working-man's club circuit during the 70's. New 'Health and Safety Laws' saw the introduction of 'Sound Meters' which promptly cut off the electricity supply and often immediately with the opening number prompting the Concert Secretary to utter (and a good few of the audience at times): 'Can't tha tone it down a bit?'
So what's this to do with cider you may well ask... The thing is, you do sometimes wonder what other people make of it. Should I have any doubts on taste and quality I pass a small glass through to the chief taster... the response being usually one of two:
1) 'Hmm... I see what you mean. (Smacks lips and passes glass back.) Have you got any more?'
2) 'Beautiful that. (Smacks lips and passes glass back.) Have you got any more?'
On the briefest of tasting the daughter's response is usually: "Orgh, no"...
I don't sell my cider, but do give quite a bit of it away to those who are kind enough to allow access to their trees or orchard providing valuable apples; and there's the unsuspecting, whose experience of 'cider' is probably from the supermarket...
Thing is, do you 'tone it down a bit' for those customers whose feedback is polite but firm?
Most common: 'Not sweet enough'
Often: 'It's too sharp'
Yesterday's comment: 'It was bitter'
or the less constructive: 'Not to my taste'
Another one: 'I mixed it with lemonade' (..?)
not all bad though:
'It were all right that.'
'Do you sell it?'
'Strong stuff innit.'
'You can taste the apples in it.'
So what's to do? (short of 'Keeving' to make a 'naturally' sweeter cider that is...)
a) Water it down and add sweetener...?
b) Add more sugar to the finished stuff but make sure that they don't keep it too long?