Celebrate National Hot Mulled Cider Day the Floridian Way, Late

It's officially Autumn now, but you could be forgiven for not having noticed if you live in South Florida - though, relatively speaking, 87 is actually a nice break from the tortuous heat of summer.

While "Food Holidays" are a fun and trendy way of enjoying certain foods we might not entirely gravitate towards on our own, they're also vastly vapid annoying reminders that we live in an area that enjoys one and half seasons year long - summer and not-so summer.

Take National Mulled Cider Day, for example, which took place yesterday, September 30. While the rest of the contiguous United States begins to whip themselves into the frenzy of Fall and the coming Winter months, we here in South Florida continue to wear shorts and bikinis.

So, we ignored it out of solidarity with our fellow sweat citizens. It's just too damn hot and a pox on those who say that drinking hot beverages on a hot day is better for you corporeally - bollocks! There's nothing nicer than a cold and refreshing beverage with alcoholic friends in tow on a scorching hot day!

But then we thought, why let those stinkin' northerners have all the fun?

See also: An Ode to the Bean on Jump for Jelly Beans Day

So we here in South Florida say no thanks to cute wintry fare like hot mulled ciders! We demand alternatives! And maybe, just maybe we'll consider one of those for those two or three days of winter we actually do get in late January.

And, anyway, there are few things more Floridian than being fashionably late.

Hot mulled ciders are actually not bad and given the increasing acceptance of ciders (hot or cold) outside of British and Spanish enclaves in the United States, these typical winter cocktails might begin to enjoy a renaissance for the full the year. With apples being the stereotypical American favorite, working as the liquid base, a mulled cider easily lends itself to varied and regional interpretation. If contemporary mixologists can work bacon and cheeseburgers into a damn bloody Mary, what's stopping them from running riot on the benign apple cider?

Well, while we're roughly discouraged from turning New Times' property into America's Alcoholic Test Kitchen, we can surely offer a couple of ideas for turning this northern staple into something refreshing and fun for South Floridian palates. Here's an original recipe and two variants for you to enjoy today.

Mulled Cider (Traditional)

- 16 cups apple cider

- 4 cinnamon sticks

- 2 oranges, peeled and juiced

- 8 cloves (whole)

- 6 star anise (whole)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Heat while stirring in a folding manner for seven to twelve minutes. Pour into highball glasses that have been filled halfway with chipped ice. Garnish with orange wedge and cinnamon stick.

Pair with a nice roast chicken filled with a bouquet garni of rosemary, marjoram, tarragon and chervil.

Mediterranean-Inspired Cider

- 16 cups apple cider

- 1 cinnamon stick

- 1 shaved pod of cardamom

- ½ tbsp. of nutmeg

- 2 oranges, peeled and juiced

- 10 pomegranate seeds

- 2 cloves (whole)

- 2 star anise (whole)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until you almost reach a rolling boil. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve into a warmed saucepan. Serve in highball glasses that have been filled halfway with chipped ice. Garnish with a banderilla of orange, apple and pineapple wedge.

Pair with a spicy doner kebab or a citrusy lamb tagine and some fluffy peppery couscous.

Caribbean-Inspired Bourbon Cider

- 16 cups apple cider

- 4 ounces Bourbon

- Lemon juice to taste

- Bunch of fresh cherries

- 4 cloves (whole)]

- 4 star anise (whole)

- 1 tbsp. of shaved ginger

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a pleasant warm, just enough for the spices to open up. Strain through a sieve into a warmed saucepan. Serve in highball glasses that have been filled with chipped ice. Garnish with cherries and ginger candy.

Pair with a robust curried goat, rice and peas and some fried plantains.

These recipes are suggestions for you to try that open themselves up to interpretation and taste. Just because the north will have another miserable winter doesn't mean we can't enjoy a tropicalized version of their cold-weather delicacies. May no trend ever evade us!

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Abel Folgar