Friday, September 29, 2006

Break out the Cider (Hard or Otherwise)

Have I mentioned how much I love fall?

One of my favorite aspects of the season is the annual trip(s) to the cider mill we make as a family. Music Man and I take our three little munchkins (who aren't so little anymore) to the cider mill we went to when we were first a-courtin.'

The mill is a real mill, on a small river, and it's quaint and contained. It's not a big fancy experience like some of the other cider mills in the area, with hayrides and large crowds and "stuff." There are trees by the little river, a few picnic tables, and usually a pig or two in a pen. Maybe a rabbit as well. A little trail leads off into a small wood for a short hike along the river. And there's also the tree that Music Man and I climbed on our first visit to the mill, sixteen years ago.

It's a lovely reminder of those early days in our relationship, not to mention a fun treat for the family.

But the best part (besides the caramel apples with peanuts and the fresh warm donuts) is the cider we bring home.

I'm a sucker for hot mulled cider. My mom makes it every Christmas, and I love the smell when I walk into her house. It's fall and winter and the holidays and comfort, all rolled into one warm mug.

I usually put cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves and lemons in my hot mulled cider. Tastefully Simple has a Mulled Cider spice that you can just shake into the cider if you're in a hurry. Heat it up and bang! you've got a great-tasting drink.

And then of course, you can always add apple schnapps to the cider. Or cinnamon schnapps, depending on your preference. It's great for hayrides and Halloween parties. Caroling and ice skating, too, if we want to get ahead of ourselves.

Speaking of hot drinks, one of my friends introduced me to another great fall/winter drink. I don't drink coffee, but I like this one: she adds a shot of butterscotch schnapps and a shot of Bailey's to a mug of coffee. It's really good! (But they kind of sneak up on you, so be careful.)

How about you? Hot mug-drinks? Fall traditions?


Anonymous Annie soliloquized...

My TT yesterday was thisclose to being about what I look forward to in autumn. Apple Cider is one of them.

I'm not a coffee drinker at all. Nor a hot tea drinker. I don't really drink hot chocolate unless it's FREEZING out and there's no other option.

But hot mulled apple cider? LOVE IT! And maybe it's because I grew up in a big apple area (one of the area highschool mascots was the Applemen). So I remember Apple Harvest Festivals and parades and drinking hot cider.

And I like to put just a tad of caramel sauce into my hot cider. Tastes a bit like a candy apple then :)

Friday, September 29, 2006 8:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Gypsy soliloquized...

Living in north Florida, we get a little bit of the fall weather. I don't drink coffee, but I love hot tea, especially chai. When the mornings cool off a bit more I'll be drinking it every day.

Friday, September 29, 2006 9:50:00 AM  
Blogger Heather Harper soliloquized...

Your cider spices sound yummy.

And I'm going to have to try the coffee drink. In the evening, of course, as I'm a serious lightweight.

Not that I don't weigh a lot, I do. But my tolerance for alcohol is next to nothing.

Friday, September 29, 2006 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Jaye Wells soliloquized...

I love cider too. But I don't think it's the same down here in Texas where we don't have real winters. I would love living somewhere where we could have the full experience of apple picking, sleigh rides and snow man buidling.

Friday, September 29, 2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason soliloquized...

The seasons are one of the things I love about living in Michigan. I would miss all four seasons (even though I don't really like winter).

Annie, I LOVE the idea of adding caramel to my hot apple cider. Oh, man! That would be great. Thanks for the tip.

Gypsy, I love chai too. That's what I get when we go to Starbucks or any other coffee shop. And I'm a hot tea drinker as well. I just don't do coffee.

Yeah, Heather, watch it on the coffee drinks. They hit you like a velvet hammer sometimes. ;-)

Friday, September 29, 2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Carl V. soliloquized...

Of course you know I love fall....and because of this I am close to being apoplectic. Despite a wonderful, almost entirely fall-like September, October is predicted to open with near 90 degree temps with upper 80's as far into the week as they are willing to predict at this point. I hate "Indian Summer" or whatever you want to call it. Just when you get used to the fall clothes, the open windows and fresh air, summer returns. What a bitch.

Okay, enough grousing. Fresh apple cider is just heavenly. Love it. I haven't went to a real cider mill though and would love to have that experience. Yours sounds close to perfection. I've had hot apple cider a few times but prefer it cold. The last time that I remember was in October '99 when I traveled to Seattle with a friend to see Tori Amos in concert. We went out on a day long whale watching excursion and it was wonderfully chilly. A mug of 'free refill' hot apple cider kept me company all that day. Whenever I smell it I think of that.

Friday, September 29, 2006 5:46:00 PM  
Blogger Alyssa Goodnight soliloquized...

Whoa! Caramel sauce in the apple cider sounds really good. I wish we lived near an orchard or cider mill... I subscribe to a couple of magazines, and every fall the glossy stories about apple picking and hay rides have me wishing I could have at least experience one autumn experience like that.

Instead, I sit outside and eat a store-bought apple, chasing it down with a couple of mellowcreme pumpkins.

Friday, September 29, 2006 7:18:00 PM  
Blogger Devonna soliloquized...

I love fall! I like the fact the air is crisp, that I have to wear my jacket, that I have to break out the sweaters. It's all part of the experience for me. As far as drinks go, I love my tea. I have this wierd thing ~ I have three mugs that I call my "comfort mugs". I use them for my weekend coffee, or my evening tea. That's all they're used for and it's part of what I look forward to in the fall.

Saturday, September 30, 2006 12:31:00 AM  

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