It is early Fall as I write this and very soon the new crop of apples will be at their peak. In New England, this ripening of the most gorgeous shiny orbs, is celebrated by city folk who, once a year, wander into the orchards to pick apples. A bonus is the extraordinary pleasure of purchasing and drinking the orchard’s own fresh pressed or hardened apple cider.
Fresh pressed cider will “harden” and the alcoholic beverage that is produced is sublime. I found the following history researched by the New England Historical Society and found it fascinating enough to pass it on: “Farmers cut down apple trees by the thousands, perhaps millions, as the temperance movement swept America in the early 1800s. Farmers embracing the new non-alcoholic order removed entire orchards because they couldn’t imagine how they would possibly use the apples if they didn’t press them for cider.”
I doubt the farmers “embraced” this but perhaps! Because hard cider is now difficult to find outside of the orchards of New England, the store-bought cider can use a little improvement to bring it back to the original flavor. Here is my version that is pretty delicious especially spiked with a bit of alcohol to give it the original kick.
- 8 cups (1/2 gallon) apple cider
- 1/2 cup Bonnie’s Peach Ginger
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- One orange sliced into rounds
- ½ cup bourbon (optional)
- Cinnamon sticks and apple slice for the glass
In a large pot add the apple cider, the Peach Ginger jam and all the spices. Bring to a gentle boil for 8-10 minutes
Add the orange slices to the cider and reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and continue simmering for 20 minutes.
(Optional) Add the bourbon and heat 2-3 more minutes.
Serve warm with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick