How we like them apples
By Babs Rodriguez
Photos by Meda Kessler
If an apple a day is good for your health, a dozen pressed into a cider can do wonders for your spirit.
Fall’s iconic beverage is a boon companion for cooler temps, family fests and happy hours. Transform it into an adult beverage with a splash of rum or bourbon. Tricked up with a cinnamon stick or a fruit slice, it’s a treat for kids. Like things spicy? Power up a pour with allspice, nutmeg and cloves — a spiced and simmered (mulled) cider will make your house smell festive. Grate in a little fresh ginger to step things up. Grocers offer jugs of fresh pressed cider, but to make your own, start with the fruit. Let your sweet tooth be your guide. Gala, Fuji and Golden Delicious apples are sugary; if you like things on the tart side, Pink Lady and Granny Smith are your gals. Mix and match to create your signature drink. This mulling recipe will get your party started.
Hot Tarty Cider
- 6 Pink Lady apples, cored and quartered
- 6 Gala apples, cored and quartered
- 2 large oranges, peeled and quartered
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (for more bite, grate your own)
- Pinch of kosher salt or to taste
- 16 cups water, adding more as needed
- ¼ cup brown sugar or to taste
Place fruit, spices and salt in a large stockpot. Add water to cover, plus about 2 inches.
Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for about 2 hours.
With a potato masher, crush the softened fruit. Cover and return to low heat for 1 hour.
Using a fine-mesh strainer, separate the liquid from the mashed mixture. Return cider
to pot and stir in sugar to taste.
Serve warm in mugs garnished with a cinnamon stick or apple slice.
Some like it cold
A warm day calls for a cool cocktail. Pour a cup of the homemade cider into an ice-filled shaker. Add the juice of a lemon wedge and a jigger of bourbon, to your taste.
Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Pour into an ice-filled glass and top with a splash of ginger beer or ginger ale. Garnish with a thyme sprig.