The calendar may suggest fall is just around the corner, but in mid and late September summer can hold on and flame out with occasional high heat and humidity. By noon it can feel like July, and if you’d like a break from lemonade , iced tea or soda, try this concoction of cider, fruit juices and a bit of ginger ale that I’ve renamed Indian Summer Cider. The 1932 Westinghouse Refrigerator Book calls it “Cider Blend.” Maybe the copywriters hit a speakeasy over lunch for a few sidecars or gin fizzes and came back sleepy the day they had to write recipe titles for the beverage chapter. Cider Blend has no zing, unlike this delicious thirst quencher.
Cider is showing up at roadside fruit stands and grocery stores now, but I’m not quite ready to commit to it full strength. Cider is a weather-sensitive drink for me, and there’s got to be more of a snap and crackle to the air before I’m ready to chug a mug of this unfiltered apple juice. That’s why cider is cloudy by the way–tiny bits of apple and sediment remain after the apples are pressed and create the opaque appearance.
Indian Summer Cider is a nice transition beverage with plenty of apple flavor that’s light enough to beat back the heat. Orange and lemons brighten and lighten the cider, while the ginger ale gives it a little zip. By the way, the recipe specifies “a bottle of ginger ale.” A tad vague for 2013. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “before the 1950s, most standard soft drink bottles were 6.5 ounces.” If Harvard says it’s so, that’s good enough for me, and I measured accordingly.
Indian Summer Cider (previously known as Cider Blend)
1 quart cider
1 cup water
1 bottle ginger ale (I measured out 6.5 ounces)
Add the fruit juices and water to the cider and place it in the refrigerator to mellow for several hours.
Before serving, add a bottle of ginger ale. This is a surprisingly refreshing beverage and has a much more interesting flavor than plain cider.
Note: If doubled or tripled, this would make a great punch, I think, especially with slices of citrus floating on top.