It’s that time of year again, when apples are in season bringing a little sweetness and warmth to rapidly diminishing daylight hours. It is all thanks to the fact that apples pair beautifully with those favoured soul-warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. An added bonus: a house with apples on the menu always smells amazing.
Not only does apple juice offer a sweet hit of fragrant hydration, it’s also packed with good nutrients. From a classic straight-up apple juice to a refreshingly dry apple cider or apple martini with bite, here’s how to put some pomme punch into your autumnal days.
You can’t really beat straight-up apple juice for refreshing flavour, especially when you juice your own. You can juice both the apple flesh and peel, but make sure you remove the core before putting you apple through the juicer or blender (use the cores in your apple tea – see below).
If you choose the high-powered blender option, you can either drink your apple juice with the pulp, or strain it through fine muslin to extract the juice. Add the leftover pulp to sweeten smoothies, muffins or to make fruit leather.
Whether you opt for an alcoholic version or an all-ages version, apple cider is always satisfying. A good one will have a clean balance of sour and sweet notes, with a tangy buzz to finish.
Excellent local hard versions include offering from The Barossa Cider Co., The Hills Cider Company, Castaway and Scape Goat.
Soft options to try include those from Hillbilly, Bilpin and The Hills Cider Company.
A spiced apple tea is a brilliant non-caffeine way to kick of your day. Pukka make an apple and cinnamon version that makes for easy mornings. If you’re feeling cosy, you can also make your own fragrant tea from apple scraps.
Bring the core and peel of four red apples, a stick of cinnamon, one star anise and a half-teaspoon of ginger powder (optional) to boil with four cups of water. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave the tea to steep. The longer you leave it, the more intense the flavour. Strain tea into a pot or cup and sweeten with a little honey if desired.
Making apple muffins with the rest of the apples is highly recommended.
Hot apple punch is just about the best thing about cool autumn nights. You can make a quick version by simply gently heating your apple cider until warm and serving in a mug.
For an even more pleasing hot apple punch, heat 500 ml apple juice, a cinnamon stick, the zest of half and orange and a few blueberries in a medium saucepan. Simmer for about 20 minutes to let the spices infuse then strain the punch into two glasses, add a curl of red apple peel and serve.
To really get the party started, an apple martini – aka appletini – is the way to go. Go easy on this one – apple schnapps seems to really bring out vodka’s party queen.
1 shot vodka
1 shot apple schnapps
5 ml sugar syrup
1 cup of ice
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake, shake, shake. Note that butt wiggling while you shake is mandatory.
Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a curl of green apple.