Boiled cider is a FANTASTIC cheesecake topping. FYI.
Confession: I love me some autumn. This is my favorite season… ever. It’s got cool sunshine and low humidity; sweaters, cute jackets and jeans; and oh, the food! Apples and pears, pot roast and soup, tomatoes and squash and pumpkin and cranberries. It’s pretty much the perfect season.
And, to celebrate the greatness of autumn, I just discovered a thing called Boiled Cider. This is actually a very old-fashioned syrup-type product that’s made from apple cider. It used to be super-popular, especially along the east coast, but has really fallen by the wayside. UNTIL NOW.
I’m telling you, I’d like to start a boiled cider renaissance. This stuff is like autumn, in edible form. Now that I know it exists, my life is forever changed, for the better.
This is not a pina colada; this is a beach in Mexico. But I bet you want a pina colada right about now, don't you?
Summer is here, in all its sun-drenched, mid-90s-temperatures glory. (Proof: I got so distracted playing in the garden last night that I almost forgot to finish this post. Ooops.) Anyway, summer really means that my favorite winter drinks (rye and ginger ale, heavy brown beers) are put aside in favor of lighter things. Like vodka gimlets, gin ‘n’ tonics, and the biggest, goofiest tropical cocktails I can get my hands on.
First and foremost of those has to be the pina colada. A few recent heat-soaked trips (see above) made rum seem perfecto – and when we came home to equally hot days, it continued to seem perfecto. Rum is crisp, slightly sweet and fantastically cooling, all at once. Add the tangy sweet-sour notes of pineapple and the creaminess of coconut, and what do you get? Blissful relief in the middle of a sweltering, melty day.
But certain people (erm… me) sometimes feel ridiculous ordering giant fruity drinks in bars. So, the question became, how best to make the pineapple wonder at home? Buy a premade mix, or create one of our own with cream of coconut and pineapple juice?
Challenge: Pina Colada
Strongbow vs. homemade
I was first introduced to hard cider by a college friend. She had just come back from studying abroad in Wales, and there she discovered this awesome drink called Strongbow. I was just 21 and still naïve to the broad, glorious range of intoxicating beverages available – my repertoire at the time consisted of amaretto sour, capt’n-coke and Bud Light.
But I bravely ventured forth and tried this “Strongbow” stuff. And it was love. And then I graduated and moved to Cleveland and dated a guy named Paul. He found a bar close to my apartment that served Strongbow, and so we went there every Sunday to drink cider and play Scrabble. It didn’t last, but my devotion to hard cider grew ever stronger.
Fast forward: Rob, the Husband of Awesome, MADE me a batch of apfelwein, and then TAUGHT me how to make it myself. You can see where he gets the nickname. Anyway, apfelwein is German for apple-wine, but can be also translated as “hard cider.” And now that the first batch is done, it’s time for a good challenge.
Challenge: Apfelwein (Hard Cider)
eggnog photo thanks to elana's kitchen
Eggnog (or egg nog, depending on which style camp you come from) is awesome. Seriously – sweetened custard in a liquid form that is designed to be mixed with a wide range of other awesome things, like brandy, or coffee, or butterscotch schnapps and rum, or French toast, or oatmeal.
And because it’s December, that means eggnog is in season! So, should you DIY or buy your holiday awesome?