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/// LIBATIONS HOW TO MULL


texture, it gains in complexity and power. No matter which way the weather turns, cider can be gussied up to suit the occasion. Mulling is a common and infinitely variable tech-


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nique for spicing all sorts of drinks. The basic process is gently heating the liquid with various spices, before straining and serving warm. Whole spices are best suited to mulling, as they will not clump up in a dusty slick, nor overpower the delicacy of the cider if shaken injudiciously. Place in a coffee filter a few shards of cin- namon, some allspice berries, maybe an anise star and a couple of cloves. Gather the filter around the spices in a bundle and secure with a twist tie. This simple sachet will make removing the spices easy. The coffee filter is sufficiently porous to allow the spices to permeate the cider. A couple wedges, slices or twists of orange add a lovely fragrance, and particularly in cross-section, look lovely as a garnish. Try studding your orange pieces with cloves, a trick used by the Victorians to keep artfully combine flavors and visual appeal. Heat the cider gently, without letting it boil. Cooking for too long


destroys the enticing freshness of the cider, turning it syrupy and one-note. Just keep it on low for 10-15 minutes, tasting to gauge the spice notes and temperature. If it is to be served at a party, keep it in the carafe of your coffee maker to keep warm. Add a couple of ounces of rum or brandy to a mug for a comforting drink that warms you inside and out. And if the weather turns? Throw it into the fridge for iced drinks, or even into the freezer for homemade ice pops. Either way, a spicy-sweet fall is in order. n


CALENDAR


Le Style de Vie Butch’s, Holland Sept. 10, 5-9 p.m.; $50 butchs.net, (616) 396-8227


Le Style de Vie is an annual wine and design festival held outdoors at Butch’s. The event raises awareness and funding for the Center for Women in Transition, a non-profit organiza- tion. Le Style de Vie offers a variety of entertainment throughout the day and into the night including wine tasting, hors d’ oeuvres, a fashion show and auction items provided by local businesses. Ticket price is $50, with $20 of the proceeds benefiting the Center for Women in Transition.


26 | REVUEWM.COM | SEPTEMBER 2011


Tickets can be purchased at Butch’s, Globe Design & Vision, and Studio K. Each ticket gets you entry to the event, unlimited wine tasting, light appetizers and live music.


Eat Local Challenge: Beer / Wine Pairing Class


& Brewery Tour Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids September 25, 4 p.m.; $30 breweryvivant.com, (616) 719-1604


Enjoy a beer and wine pairing class and a brewery tour at Brewery Vivant during this event, hosted by owner Jason Spaulding. The pairing class will pair four beers with four items from Brewery Vivant’s upcoming fall menu which will debut in October. $30 per person, limited to 20 people.


F ALL THE WONDERFUL SEA- SONAL markers in Michigan, the first really good apples of the year are one of the most evocative. Cider is all the pure honeyed goodness of apples distilled into nectar, and though it lacks the fruit’s


by Lydia Clowney | lydia@revuewm.com


PHOTO: LYDIA CLOWNEY


SPIRIT OF THE MONTH: Cider


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HERE ARE UNDENIABLY GREAT ways to liquor up a glass of fresh cider, but slaving away over a hot saucepan isn’t always a good time. When ease is desired, a bottle of hard cider


beckons. Cider has come a long way from the acrid, sour, one-note stuff of a decade ago. These days it is sweet or dry, fruity or honeyed, sparkling or just barely effervescent, depending on the whims of the bottler. J.K.’s Scrumpy Cider from Flushing is one of the


simplest pleasures you’ll find. Made from just apples and yeast, this bottle is both a celiac’s dream and a Proustian remembrance of autumn. The flavor is pure honeyed apples, with just a light sparkle on the tongue. The clear flavors are owed to an ingenious DIY pasteurization pro- cess that works at a lower temperature than most, thus preserving the freshness of the juice. For drier palates, Vander Mill Cider Mill & Winery


in Spring Lake has a different sort of drink. Michigan Wit cider is the confluence of cider and Belgian beer. The fresh apple juice is fermented with Belgian ale yeast andthen spiced with orange peel and coriander. The result is a fascinating merging of the genres. The mildly sweet cider takes on a buttery, yeasty quality, with subtle spice notes and a prodigious head. This Wit is no passing fancy, but one to come back to again and again. n


SCHEDULE | DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE


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