Friday, Sep 30, 2016
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Cider, cranberry juice are flavors of fall

Even though autumn is more than half over, last weekend I managed my first glass of local apple cider. It was delicious and a treat that should not be missed.

Apple cider and cranberry juice are popular drinks at this time of year for people of all ages at any time of the day. As refreshing, nonalcoholic beverages, they can be poured straight from the bottle or mixed with other juices and ingredients to make punch-type beverages.

Both are great to add to your picnic basket when tailgating for football games. As the weather turns cooler, you might want to think about a warm version of either.

Honey Spiced Cider - a mixture of cider, honey, cloves, oranges, and cinnamon sticks - is simmered for 20 minutes. Serve in glass mugs with a cinnamon stick at home or carry it in an insulated carafe to serve at soccer or football games.


Honey Spiced Cider is a flavorful mixture of cider, honey, cloves, oranges, and cinnamon sticks.

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Wassail is usually an ale or wine sweetened with sugar and spices, according to Food Lover's Companion. It is served in a large wassail bowl and ladled into serving cups.

The drink is adapted to a nonalcoholic version with Warm Orchard Wassail that is heated in a saucepan with sugar, cinnamon sticks, and whole allspice. The punch is strained to remove the spices, then garnished with orange slices and served.

A perfect gift basket for a Thanksgiving host could include all of the wassail essentials in one basket: cinnamon sticks, allspice, sugar, and a bottle of cranberry juice plus a carafe.

Here are the recipes:

Honey Spiced Cider

5 cups apple cider

3/4 cup honey

24 whole cloves

2 small navel oranges, quartered

7 4-inch cinnamon sticks

1 4-inch strip lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Combine cider and honey in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until honey dissolves.

Push 3 cloves into the rind of each orange quarter. Add to the cider, along with the cinnamon sticks, lemon zest, and nutmeg. Bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer at the merest bubble for 20 minutes. Remove the fruit and spices with a slotted spoon and discard. Serve hot.

Yield: 8 servings

Warm Orchard Wassail

1 64-ounce bottle blended cranberry- apple juice

1/4 cup sugar, optional

2 3-inch cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon whole allspice

Orange slices, garnish

Whole cloves, garnish

Combine juice, sugar, cinnamon, and allspice in a large saucepan. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Strain punch to remove spices. Place in a heat-proof punch bowl. Garnish with orange slices studded with cloves.

Yield: 12 6-ounce servings

The Northwestern Ohio Restaurant Association awarded scholarships at the annual fund-raiser Oct. 27.

This year's recipients and the schools they attend include: Angie Telles, Penta Career Center; Elizabeth Raugh, Owens Community College; Amber Farquhar, Vantage Career Center; Adrienne Menchaca, Owens Community College; and Elias Habbouche, Owens Community College.

“In addition to attending school in culinary arts programs, they all maintain jobs at area restaurants,” says Tommy Pipajarasgit, president of the NORA.

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