Post By: Redbrick
Autumn has arrived, and not just on the calendar. If there were any doubt, this weekend has pretty much put it to rest. Friends are reporting houseplants (and stowaway toads) moving indoors for the winter, snow (that four-letter word) in West Virginia, and a whole roster of other signs of the season. Outside my window, a cold rain has been falling all weekend, and indoors I am ‘enjoying’ the first official cold of the season. Yippee.
Even so, Autumn is still one of my favorite seasons. I love the ever changing display of leaves painted in the palette of fire, battalions of Canada Geese flying south in formation, and pumpkins, gourds and corn shocks making their grand appearance at farmers’ markets and roadside stands. Soon, Jack Frost will break out his engraving tools to decorate the morning grasses and even window panes in his signature pattern and flair.
But my favorite part of Fall? Cider nights and coffee mornings. My wife can tell you, I’ve been enthusing about them for at least as long as we’ve been married. Something about the cooling air just makes cider and coffee taste that much better, at least to my mind. And while you can have coffee any time of the year, cider is exclusively a Fall beverage.
I’m not talking about that bland clear liquid found in the supermarket aisles, but rather the real stuff, that reddish brown, murky, mysterious nectar pressed, bottled and sold( but never filtered!) at the orchard. Who knows what apples have lent their essence to the blend? Maybe Macintosh or Jonathan, Ginger Gold or Winesap, Northern Spy, Cortland, Empire, the possibilities are endless! Without doubt, the best ciders, like the best pies, are always blends of apples. That’s not to say that varietal ciders are without merit, but they do lack a certain character found only in mill-run blends: that distilled essence of Autumn.
The only thing better (in my opinion) than a cold glass of cider? A steaming mug of mulled cider! Try it on the next chilly October evening. Simmer a quart or two of cider in a saucepan with a stick of cinnamon, some cloves and allspice, and a lemon’s juice, allowing the brew’s aroma to fill your home like a newfound friend. When the cider has mulled for ten minutes or so, curl up with a mug, a good book, and your favorite special someone. Now, that’s Autumn!