Last time (first time) I made sparkling hard cider, it turned out strong, dry and tart. I sweetened it in the glass with agave nectar, which made it quite excellent! I'm aiming for a Strongbow-like cider. This time, I really wanted to balance the flavor before bottling. After reading various online tips, I tried Splenda. I added just a little at a time in the bottling bucket, tasting it as I went (before adding the priming sugar). I thought I had it right where I wanted it- with about 3/4 cups Splenda to 3 gallons cider - and proceeded to bottling. When I was done, I had I had about a cup left, which I sat down to drink. Oh oh. What tasted good by the sip, had a tell-tale artificial sweetener after-taste when enjoyed by the glass. Hopefully, it will mellow again in the bottle as the priming sugar does its thing.
Any ideas about better ways to balance the sweetness? Use camden tablets to stop the fermentation sooner? But could I still make it sparkling if I did that? Any tips would be much appreciated. (P.S. I make my cider in three gallon batches.)