Have you heard of banana wine? Does it sound like something you’d make, even if you had bananas handy? Back in January, when we started the banana wine, it truly looked like dirty dishwater. It was this unappealing grayish-brown color from the cooking process (though it smelled wonderful). It was the first time we had tried making banana wine, and you just never know how a first run is going to go…which is one of the reasons I like small batch winemaking: you’re never stuck with five gallons of something you just don’t want to drink!
A word about bananas: I recommend organic bananas for wine because the peel is also used in the recipe. In addition, the bananas should be ripe – as in sporting brown spots, which is not a sign of spoilage; rather, it demonstrates sugar development and deeper fruit flavor. If you’re someone who insists on eating hard, green, flavorless bananas, restrain yourself with bananas intended for winemaking and allow them to ripen properly before starting wine.
The young wine was fairly cloudy, but just three months later, it had become a warm, rich amber in color, and was completely clear. The fragrance foreshadowed an enjoyable tasting experience – it smelled mouth-wateringly like Bananas Foster! Even better, it actually tastes like it (minus the ice cream): sweet, with lingering caramel and banana flavors. It would probably accompany a bowl of gourmet vanilla ice cream nicely!
Will we make banana wine again? Without a doubt. The ingredients are easily-accessible, inexpensive, and the result is phenomenally tasty. I used Raymond Massaccesi’s recipe (Winemakers Recipe Handbook), and there’s a variation in that same recipe book for “banana spice” wine, which also sounds tasty. My next bunch of bananas is ripening in a bowl on the kitchen table, soon to become more delicious wine!