Cider Rules

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Another “comfort drink” post for today…

I assume many people enjoy apple cider in the fall — warm or cold. It is delicious either way. But when it comes to warm, mulled apple cider, that is either a Christmas holiday or a cold day in January treat for me.

I prefer to simmer it in a crock pot to avoid boiling it. And it has to be apple cider not clear juice. (If you are wondering about the difference, a good explanation here.) I still use a mulling recipe that my husband and I got while visiting a fruit farm over 30 years ago when we lived in Southwestern Ontario (I remember a nice Christmas gift shop area set up for the season). When we moved back to NW Ontario, it was a bit more difficult to find fresh cider, but we managed to find some in a few local markets before Christmas.

Eventually we strayed from that fresh pressed cider rule. I think it had to do with purchasing a commercial brand apple juice and discovering that it had a similar consistency and flavour as cider. A label did claim that it was “100% fresh pressed”, so I hope that means good apples! That led us to trying it out for the crock pot brew. So after many years, we made the switch! Not to plug the brand, but it has to be Tropicana now… 🙂

We still have the original little recipe card with the farm’s logo (The only other thing I have added to recipe was some ground nutmeg).

We often wondered if the farm that introduced us to apple cider still existed. After some poking around on the internet recently, I was able to learn that the farm is no longer there and the apple orchards are gone. I was able to find the exact location on Google maps. That south part of London is certainly not the rural country area we remember. The original Cornell sign is still visible, but faded. The signs below it advertise different businesses on the site (a fruit stand, at least, and a Greek restaurant). It’s funny what one can come across on the internet in a random search — I found a painting of the farm featured here.

Things have changed, but this recipe lives on with us and will always serve as a nice memory!

A Good Canadian Maple

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No, not another post about a tree this time, but one for some good cheer…

A friend of mine was right. I really do like the maple cream liquor that she suggested I try. Sorry, Bailey’s Irish Cream, you’ve been replaced. The label on the bottle of Cabot Trail Maple Cream, further describes it as, “maple syrup cream liquor.” It is made in Quebec, but here is a good article about it from Ottawa Life Magazine. And if you want to know more about and/or travel (someday..) to explore the actual Cabot Trail, a resource from Nova Scotia here.

As the holidays approach, I will be thinking about different ways to use the cream liquor. So far, my husband and I have tried it with and without ice, in coffee, and on ice-cream. Hot chocolate next perhaps.

On what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday recently (Oct. 9), I recalled that his favourite alcoholic drink was a Brandy Alexander and that he had referred to it as “just brandy and milk”. I have never had that drink before, but I thought… hmm.. maple cream instead? I decided to find out what was in a Brandy Alexander for certain, and yes, most recipes list brandy or cognac, milk or cream or “half and half”, and dark creme de cacao. We do have a bit of dark creme de cacao left in a bottle, but it is used sparingly as we can no longer get it at the LCBO. We can still get and also have a bottle of the clear creme de cacao, but it doesn’t seem the same — chocolate should be brown. So, I went for it:

1/2 oz. of brandy, 1/2 oz. of dark creme de cacao, 1 oz. of maple cream.

It would be easy to adjust each of those measurements up or down (and use the white/clear creme de cacao), depending on taste or preference. I have named it a Chocolate Maple Brandy Alexander for our records. I also tried this combination in coffee. All very good — shaken or stirred!

Our favourite antique “leafy” fall glasses

I thought I would share this to my blog, since we can’t have a group of friends over for a cocktail and conversation during this on-going pandemic situation. We can only hope by Christmas, but not counting on it.

Feel free to share a recipe for a comfort drink that you enjoy in the winter or during the holidays. Is there a drink that you enjoy that reminds you of location or destination that you have visited, or hope to soon? Do you have any dark creme de cacao that you could spare me? 🙂