Any one that knows me well, or is a faithful reader of this blog knows I love summer...and when it comes to an end I tend to get a little grumpy. I don't mind fall, in fact, I enjoy it. Sunny days at the pumpkin patch, apple orchard or one of our favorite autumn festivals. Donning a hoodie because there is a chill in the air. Decorating for Halloween. Enjoying a family meal with all the trimmings at Thanksgiving.
But this is where the train comes off the track. See, while I don't mind fall, I detest what comes next. I hate snow. I hate the cold. The only bright spot for me in winter is Christmas. As far as I'm concerned, we can go from summer, to fall, back to summer, take a two-day break at Christmas for some festive flakes, and then go right back into summer again. Yeah, I know....I live in the Midwest...it's a pipe dream. But there are things to look forward to with fall on it's way, so I try to make the best of it, and find solace in those.
One thing I love to do during the chilly fall days is make a big pot of a warm drink to enjoy all day long while we are watching football, coming and going, or in this case, feeling a little under the weather. That's right, before summer was over, little man and I both got sick. Between his strep throat and my sinus infection, we made a good pair. But the one thing we could both enjoy was this delicious, warm, comforting drink that not only tasted great, but really soothed our oh so sore throats.
If you love apple cider, this takes it to the next level. It combines fantastic autumn flavors with the brightness of citrus. It's perfect for your fall cook-out or bonfire too because you can heat it up, and then leave it warm in the slow cooker all day and night long. Oh, and if there is some left, you can keep it in the fridge for up to three days, so it doesn't go to waste.
Autumn is on it's way. I can't hide from it. But I can enjoy these last warm days, and look forward to the things I do love about the next season. And as far as what is coming after it, denial is a beautiful thing.
Hot Citrus Cider From Gooseberry Patch
1/2 gal. apple juice
2 1/4 c. water
1 1/2 c. orange juice
3 4-inch cinnamon sticks
1 TBS whole cloves
1/4 c. molasses
Garnish: apple slices
Mix together all ingredients except garnish in a large saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Transfer to a slow cooker; keep warm on low setting. Serve in mugs, garnished with an apple slice. May be refrigerated in a covered container up to 3 days. Makes about 3 quarts. *NOTE* I did not have cinnamon sticks on hand, so I used 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon.
Shared on The Country Cook Sept. 12, 2014