I was introduced to Apfelschorle almost immediately upon arriving in Cologne, Germany. Lift, the version manufactured by Coca-Cola is ubiquitous anywhere that sells soda. It is basically carbonated apple juice.
According to the Internet, authentic Apfelschorle is made by mixing apple juice with carbonated mineral water. According to the same Internet, a good way to approximate it at home is to use soda water with frozen apple juice concentrate. I’ve tried that method and found that mixing them caused the soda to lose a lot of its carbonation, making a disappointing concoction.
If you have a soda gun, you may be able to mix it more efficiently. If you’re a homebrewer, you may decide to just ferment apple juice to make it carbonated. That’s the one I picked. I normally use two half gallon bottles of grocery store apple juice to make two two liter bottles of Apfelschorle.
I add a packet of champagne yeast to a gallon jug, then add the apple juice on top and stir it thoroughly. I split the yeast infested juice evenly in two soda bottles and then top them up with water. Once the bottles begin to feel hard, I stick them in the fridge, there is always one that is ready before the other. Usually, the first is ready in twenty four hours and both within forty eight. In addition to hardening the bottle, the finished Apfelschorle will look lighter and cloudier. You can let it go longer if you want some alcohol, but you’ll need to vent it.
Yes, you’re basically making cider. Very, very weak cider. But after trying the other methods I found online, Amy and myself, both big fans of the Apfelschorle we drank in Germany have found this to be the best way of reproducing the flavor.
The authentic look is not not represented by this method. All of the various brands of Apfelschorle I tried in Germany were crystal clear and looked identical to regular apple juice, save for the extra bubbles. This makes a cloudy mess. But it tastes great. If you’re craving this German treat or if you’ve never had it, try this quick and easy (mostly) soft drink.