The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

Sweetango and Mulled Cider/Hot Toddy/Wassail

Oh no they didn’t! The apple mash is hitting the fan here in Minnesota. The Sweetango apple, a blend of Honeycrisp and Zestar, invented by the University of Minnesota, was only allowed to be grown by Pepin Heights orchard. Of course this is causing a huge apple uproar in the state. We know it’s to keep costs of the highly sought-out and hyped apple up, as they are taking Minnesota by storm in grocery stores and farmer’s markets. I like apples but….let’s not make this a Tickle Me Elmo ordeal people. Why am I still talking about this? Moving on.

Yesterday was beautiful. No rain, decent temperature and sunshine all day long. So what was I doing? I was looking on ebay for vintage cookware, such as paella pans, ramekins, casserole dishes all in a rustic motif, in my apartment, smiling towards the sky. I make something and want to plate it so that the attractiveness level is boosted but alas, nothing in my cabinets suits this desire/predicament. I may have found a few pieces but I am hesitant because I tend to get on a roll and then money that should be in the checking account is gone and Greg cries and landscapers get incarcerated (from the great movie Drowning Mona). Well, not so much an about-to-cry look as a snarled lip and glazed over eyes. It is then that I hand him some of whatever I made and say “wouldn’t this look nicer on another plate/tray, etc.?” I am fairly amused by this.

We enjoy traipsing about antique stores; we are all about vintage (and modern but that’s another thing). He often looks for straight razors, books and handplanes. I look for jewelry, clothing, cameras and cookware. Garage sales are also my friend, it took a while but Greg is coming around. He was against them because of some traumatic childhood issue where his mom would stop and “make” the kids get out. I don’t see how that is traumatizing but he was so averse to stopping that he often made me do a “look-see” at 60 mph, in the car, down the street and then ask if I saw anything….blurred lines that might have been people or an old vacuum, ass. I love my husband but that is how the relationship goes. If anyone else said that, I would go nuts.

I see it fitting to offer a mulled cider recipe (some call it a hot toddy or wassail), not made with Sweetango. I’m guessing that would’ve cost an arm and a leg. This is originally a Martha Stewart recipe but I like to add more spices in lesser quantities because I think hers made 16 cups. I love hot drinks but not that much. I suppose you can make and store it for future use by reheating and adding a lil’ somethin’ somethin.’

Mulled Cider/Wassail/Hot Toddy

Mulled Cider/Hot Toddy/Wassail
Makes 8 cups

64 oz. apple cider (or juice)
12 whole allspice berries
6 cinnamon sticks
8 cardamom pods
6 whole cloves
dash of nutmeg-optional
small amount of brown sugar-optional
6 strips of orange zest and 1-2 orange slices to float while simmering
Apple brandy (Calvados or Applejack is nice) or pear brandy or spiced rum or whiskey or apfel korn or cinnamon Schnapps or caramel flavored liquor (liquor of your choice is what I’m getting at)-optional

Garnish: optional
cinnamon sticks
dried fruit (apple, pear)
dried ginger
pomegranate seeds
orange zest/slices
floating cranberries

If you do not have one ingredient or only have powder form, you can omit and/or substitute. I would recommend the majority not be powder. As you can see in my alcohol list, there is a nice assortment that works well in this hot drink. In a large pot, simmer on low/med. heat all ingredients (minus alcohol) together for 20-30 minutes. Strain and pour into mugs and add whatever amount of alcohol you wish. Add garnish if you wish. This will warm you up quite well.

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