Drunk Cooking: The Best Fall Cider

I call this “cooking” because a pot and a burner are involved, but this is really mixology.

Situation: I wasn”t sure what to do. One of my party guests had brought a kick-ass apple cider, and everyone wanted more long after it was gone. I stood in my kitchen while the guy I am dating encouraged me to step away from the stove and my female guests encouraged me to try to make more. I looked at the clock: 7:30pm. We”re all wasted. Do we need more alcohol? Obviously I am too drunk if I”m even asking myself that question. I looked in the fridge: apple cider. I looked at the liquor shelf: at least 8 bottles. Enough to work with.

I poured a gallon (or s0) of this apple cider into a big pot and set the flame to medium (I think).  Then went in about a cup or two of the only dark rum I had: Appleton Estate VX, leftover from my Jamaica trip. I just stared at the pot, that had to be fine, right? The man friend, realizing he had no say in if I continued cooking, somehow had the idea that we needed something else in this cider. He thrust a bottle of Fireball Whisky in my hands.

Fireball cinnamon whisky is suddenly all the rage (at least in my neighborhood in Philadelphia) and it seems most people think it”s a “new” product. But let me tell you how many times my parents drove our family to the so we could purchase Fireball by the case (not kidding) in the early 2000s. Turns out, it”s also the perfect addition to apple cider since it gives the cider a strong cinnamon flavor without being too sweet. Also, more alcohol.

The Best Easy Fall Cider

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Apple Cider Gone Wild! Top 10 Cider Recipes

I had my first real fall moment of the year this morning: drinking apple cider. The crisp, cool, thirst-quenching drink is the perfect inauguration for autumn.  You can have it with any meal, for a snack, or warm it up and froth it if you want to go frou-frou. But did you know it can be enjoyed in more than just a glass?

10. Apple Cider Gravy

Though a bold choice for Thanksgiving, a little sweetness may go a long way with your savory turkey. Not convinced? Have you ever put apples or cranberries in your stuffing? Or enjoy spreading some sweet cranberry sauce on your turkey sandwich? Well now your gravy can do you a personal, sweet, favor.

Recipe: Nourish Network

9. Apple Cider Upside-Down Cake

Summer is over. Pineapple is no longer the seasonal fruit, and apples are in. So what do you do with that huge bag of apples sitting in your garage? Make cake…apple cider upside-down cake.

Recipe: Mid-Century Menu

8. Apple Cider Caramel Cake

More cake. This time, adding some creamy icing and caramel will make this a true dessert. Think of it as an alternative to carrot cake. No chunks of orange…just smooth, sweet and creamy cake. Does it feel like fall for you yet?

Recipe: Simply Fine Living

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Endless Road Trip Germany: Capri-Sonne, Anyone?

Not soon after I made a joke about not being able to funnel vodka into a Capri Sun, I found myself in Cologne, Germany at BackWerk (which I was disappointed to find out  means “bake and take”)  looking at all the drink options to accompany my sandwich. I spotted a Capri-Sonne with the words “cola mix” and a photo of a a sea of soda with a lemon raft. LEMON SODA CAPRI SUN? Sign me the fuck up.

As I sat on our American flag blanket and consumed what I thought would be a delicious treat, I realized that, unfortunately, the words I neglected were “koffeinfrei” and “ohne kohlensäure.” Caffeine free. Without carbonation. We can probably all agree that Germans are strange, but why why WHY would anyone want to drink COMPLETELY flat lemony soda, out of a foil packet, that won’t even increase alertness? This wouldn’t fly in America (how many times have you heard someone at a restaurant/bar complain about the level of carbonation in their drink?) but as I thought about it more, I realized the Germans are on to something.

Cola Mix Capri Sonne and Rum? A portable, low sugar cocktail with no artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners or preservatives that won’t fill you up or keep you up at night but WILL get you drunk? Like I needed another way to consume alcohol in Germany.

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Endless Ice Cream: Lemongrass, Coconut and Ginger

Ahh, lemongrass. One of my favorite flavors. Every once in a while they have stacks of fresh lemongrass stalks at the grocery store. I happily buy several stalks of it and use it in soups, sauces, and stir-frys. I recently read that you can turn supermarket stalks of lemongrass into your very own plant, giving a bounty of lemongrass whenever you want it. After tasting this ice cream I think I’ll have to start growing my own- I anticipate making this happening many, many times.

Note: If you’ve never worked with fresh lemongrass before, here’s a quick run-down of what you’ll need to do: Trim the root end from the bottom and the papery end from the top of the stalk. You should be left with a 2″ to 4″ piece. Remove the outer leaves one at a time until the leaves are no longer brownish or papery. The remainder should be about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick. Grab a rolling pin, hammer, or anything heavy and sturdy. Beat the crap out of the pieces of lemongrass. This releases the flavorful oils. Finally, cut the bruised pieces into 1/4″ slices. You’re good to go.

Lemongrass, Coconut & Ginger Ice Cream

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Cocktail O’Clock: Mango Ginger Margarita

We were on our third day of sightseeing benders in the world of rodent amusement parks when we ventured to “Tomorrow Land”—you know the one, with the gigantic golf-ball housing the “ride of tomorrow” that ends in some California garage? Unfortunately, the early 80’s tech-savvy scene failed to amuse our five-year-old tech genius. Nothing offered here could compete with our PS3 at home, so he decided to take his boredom out on the rest of us. Purely in the interest of self-preservation, I stumbled upon a stand selling mango-ginger-margaritas in China-land. My wife and I enjoyed 3 of these magical libations. (Yes. That’s 3 each.) I recreated these serenity slushies at home with positive results.

Mango Ginger Margarita

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Cocktail O’Clock: Never Wake a Sleeping Dragon


It’s Friday. It’s been a long week. It’s ten billion degrees out.

Yep, it’s damn well time for Cocktail O’Clock. A nice, strong, spicy Cocktail O’Clock. Here’s a guest recipe from mixologist Hal Wolin of A Muddled Thought.

Never Wake a Sleeping Dragon

2 oz Ron Abuelo 12-year-old rum
1/2 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
1/2 oz Scotch (preferably 10 year old)
2 dashes Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub
2 Dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir gently and strain into coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with half a habanero pepper.

More creative drink ideas in Endless Cocktails.

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Endless Poptails: Grilled Mango Smash


I’m going to be upfront and set this post up properly: I’m a baker, not a griller. I’m not saying that because I rock heels over flip flops for weekend outings.  Grill’n is just not my thing. As a result I’m the worst kind of griller. I’m always lifting the hood a few too many times and turning the heat up and down too much—I grill with self-doubt.

So for this recipe it wasn’t bravery that stirred me to action. Nope. It wasn’t even the Esquire article about this new breed of female master grillers, that is, until I got to the grilled margarita recipe. Grilled drinks?

Yeah, go ahead, I’ll wait while you grab your tongs.

Here’s what I made after grabbing mine: Grilled Mango Smash.  Think sweet mango grilled to the point when the sugar is sweated to the surface for a dark smoky carmelized flavor. Lighting up that sweetness is the fire from the tomatillo and quietly but confidently nudging its way in is a slight peppery bite from the basil. And finally, lying beneath all that is a layer of that belly-grabbing barbeque flavor. It’s awesomeness on a stick.

Grilled Mango Smash

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