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Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Cocktail: Hot Apple Pie

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2008 at 3:15 PM

Last Friday—BAM—autumn arrived in San Francisco. Sure there was that autumnal equinox thingamajig back in mid-September, but anyone who's lived in San Francisco for awhile knows enough to ignore the Gregorian calendar when it comes to the seasons. Last week, for the first time this year, there was a morning crispness to the air and an angle to the lighting scheme that says (as Hemingway might put it) Fall, she is here. Even the subsequent weekend's warmish weather had a pleasantly autumnal edge to it.

Autumn means many things to many people, but of primary importance to us here today is the switching from one cocktail (margarita, daiquiri, what have you) to another. There are many fine cold-weather cocktails out there just waiting to warm the cockles, but one of the abiding tragedies of my life is that I can no longer enjoy coffee, the primary ingredient in just about all of them. Happily, there is that soul-warming toddy known as the Hot Apple Pie.

I have in my recipe box at home a cocktail napkin from a Lake Tahoe saloon manned by a bartender who was not only adept at the crafting of the Hot Apple Pie, he was affable enough to share his deceptively simple recipe with me. (It's a lot easier to find a decent Hot Apple Pie in the High Sierra than here in the relatively temperate lower elevations, please note.)

Just warm up some apple cider in a saucepan, combine it in a mug or an Irish coffee glass with an ounce or two of Tuaca, add a cinnamon stick and a chapeau of whipped cream and...voila. When the thick, cool cream meets the cider's sweet heat and the aromatic vanilla-citrus essence of Tuaca, the experience is, well, intoxicating. Happy October. —Matthew Stafford

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Janine Kahn


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