Autumn is in the air. I think? The weather in the Northeast cannot seem to make up its temperamental mind. Last Saturday brought the first snow of the season. I am not talking about a few beautiful, puffy white flakes, I mean the skies opened up and hurled miniature snowballs to the world below all day long. I equipped our bed with warm flannel sheets and our neighbors cranked their dusty radiators.
Yesterday, the sun was shining, blinding pedestrians attempting to walk in any direction. The jacket I needed for warmth on my morning commute rendered me a sweaty mess within five minutes of stepping outside for lunch.
My cravings are equally confused – something hearty and comforting or something light and healthy? Luckily, there is one beverage with the ability to put me in a fall mood any day of the year – mulled apple cider. Apple cider can be consumed warm or chilled, conveniently versatile compared to other seasonal food and beverage options. Add a healthy splash of bourbon and sip the fall, or whatever the season, days away.
MULLED APPLE CIDER
Yields 8 cups
Mulling cider on the stove top always reminds me of my father as they fill my apartment with their familiar, homey scent. Twenty minutes later, I can wrap my hands around the mug containing the fragrant, warm liquid. One sip and I am warmed down to my tippy-toes.
2 whole cinnamon sticks
2 strips orange peel
1 tablespoon whole all-spice
1 tablespoon whole cloves
Half-gallon apple cider
Place cinnamon sticks, orange peel, all-spice, and cloves in a mulling spice ball. Alternatively, place spices in square of cheesecloth. Pour apple cider into a medium saucepan, submerge spice ball into liquid, cover and warm over low heat. Allow spices to mull for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.