Apple Cider Mocktails

My Love for Fall and Apple Cider

When I started my blog last year, I had dreams of what the future would hold.  I had several consulting opportunities; I finally started my book and was looking at 2020 to become a prominent year.  2020 came and with it the Pandemic, the loss of contracts, lock downs, good friends getting sick and lots of changes.  More and more, I remind myself and others that it’s the little things each day that help us relax and move forward.  For me, this directly relates to Fall.

Growing up in Canada, Fall represents several changes for me:

  • The cooling of the temperatures (like snow on Halloween)
  • The beauty of the leaves changing color (and jumping in the massive piles),
  • Harvesting the last of the beans and bringing in plants
  • Winter produce such as butternut squash and Brussel sprouts,
  • and getting ready for the holidays.

Everywhere I have lived, I’ve been near apple orchards so Fall means one important change for me:

The addition of apple cider to my menu.

I LOVE THE STUFF!!!  I always keep some in the fridge to sip on each day.  I don’t know what it is about apple cider, but it helps relax me from the first sip to the last.  Maybe its because of memories of my dad buying hot mulled cider for me when we would go out to the orchard.  Maybe it’s the correlation of the flavor of fresh apples (not in storage for a year) but just picked and pressed.  Maybe it’s the smell of the apples and baking spices like cinnamon and cloves.  Who knows but daily, I pour a glass to enjoy it and relax.

Drink Ideas

I was recently asked to create a few mocktails for Homecoming.  Yes, I said mocktails…not all my drinks are alcohol based.  However, I do not have a large mocktail database to work from that is not either soft drink or tea based.  I did some research while sipping on some cider and realized that I needed to use apple cider as the base.  What else reminds of us of Fall and the gradually colder weather coming.

I created two drinks which are easy to make that I will list below.  However, I want to take a moment and talk about the cider.  Apple cider can be purchased from almost everywhere.  I personally love going to the local apple orchards to purchase directly from them.  Some of them also have different types from different apples which to me is exciting to try.  Your local supermarket will carry different brands as well.  Please make sure (wherever you purchase it from) that you look for two important things:

  • Check the use by date to make sure that you will be able to enjoy it,
  • And please make sure its

Years ago, I purchased a great cider from a vendor and had a bad reaction to the unpasteurized cider.  Unpasteurized will change quickly (even if stored at the right temperatures) and its not worth the days off work.  I prefer ones that are unsweetened.  Generally, there is enough sugar from the ripe apples that translates into the cider.  I’ve only had one in the last 5 years that was very tart and needed a splash of sugar.

Mulled Apple Cider (serves 4 )

I love living in the south.  I purposely go to the grocery store when the weather goes below 60 F for the first time to see people in winter coats shop for queso and chili ingredients.  Up north, it’s still shorts weather.  In either case, I love this simple recipe for Mulled cider to sip on something warm and flavorful.  It’s great for the fireplace, the firepit or parties to keep on the stove or crockpot warm.  If you wish to add some kick, you can add some dark rum or bourbon to your mug before adding the warmed cider.

Ingredients

32 oz apple cider

2 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick (1 inch in length)

4 cinnamon sticks (2 inches long) for garnish – Optional

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients into a sauce pot
  • Heat over medium heat until a gentle simmer starts (small bubbles appearing on the surface)
  • Turn heat down to low and let steep for 15 minutes
  • Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves.
  • Ladle into coffee mugs and serve with the extra cinnamon sticks as garnish in the cider.

Apple Cider Mule (serves 1)

For a quick, amazingly refreshing drink, try out this recipe.  This in a nutshell is a massive flavor bomb and one of my favorite drinks. 

It’s important that you pick out a ginger beer that you like.  If you have never tried one, Fever Tree is an amazing product with balance and flavor.  It will not overpower the cider.

Ingredients

4 oz apple cider

4 oz Fever Tree Ginger beer

1 slice of lime for garnish

Instructions

  • Over ice, add the cider and then the ginger beer.
  • Gently stir to keep the ginger beer carbonation and garnish with a lime wedge.

Summary

Ladies and gentlemen, as always, I thank you for taking time out to explore my writing and thoughts.  I’ve already had my Canadian Thanksgiving a few weeks ago and I took some time out to be thankful for so much.  Even though we are living with Covid, let’s take a few moments each day to be thankful.  Enjoy the little small positive aspects and they always add up to something big.  As I sip on the Mule beside me and let it relax me, I hope it does the same for you.