I've just finished my primary fermentation and have produced a cider that is coming in at 5.2%. I am about to bottle my cider and add some priming sugar to give it a bit of a fizz. I would like to try and flavor some of the ciders with a fruit coulis. am I correct in thinking that the natural sugar in the fruit should give the cider a natural fizz and I don't need to add any sugar? Also, I am a fan of a sweeter cider, I have been advise not to add more than a teaspoon of priming sugar, and to use a sugar substitute at the same stage if i wish to sweeten it. I have purchased Xylitol, I plan on trying a few combinations with the priming sugar/Xylitol & no additive fruit coulis. Does this all sound like it makes sense or am I just going to ruin my cider.
The safest thing, though it's a bit of additional work, is to sweeten the cider in the glass. Put an ounce or two of concentrated apple juice in the bottom of your glass before pouring a bottle of cider. This technique adds a fresh apple taste, doesn't introduce any artificial sweetener off flavours, doesn't involve chemical stabilizers, and has no risk re-fermentation.
Any fermentable sugar you add will convert to alcohol and in turn create CO2. Any non-fermentable sweetner is a gamble on off flavors. A suggestion would be to allow it to finish dry, add a dose of potassium sorbate to prevent refermentation, add a tested amount of apple juice concentrate to your liking for sweetness, keg and force carbonate the batch. However, if you must prime the batch, artificial sweetners are your easiest choice.
In order to sweeten your cider you will have to add some type of non-fermenting sugar, such as a sweetener.
I have tried this in the past although I'm not too keen on the flavor of sweeteners.
You could look at disgorgement. This is a process used in sparkling wine and champagne making whereby during secondary fermentation within the bottle and bottle is placed upside down so that the yeast falls at the lid/cap. The neck of the bottle is then frozen opened added a small amount of sugar water and water to top up and then re-capped. This should give you the sweater taste.
Failing that you would have to brew it and stop it sweet or back sweeten it and then add CO2 in order to carbonate the drink, normally using a keg. (this can get expensive though)
Adding flavor you could experiment with fruit teabags and put that in during fermentation, I do this to make a fruit tea wine (fruit tea bags, grape juice from a carton) works very well and some great flavors.
Hope this helps