Our Favorite (Slightly Spicy) Michelada Recipe

spicy michelada recipe

Keep things casual with a tasty beer cocktail that everyone will love. Our chefs developed this riff on a Michelada recipe for all of your game-day viewing needs. Because it’s based on beer, it’s lighter in alcohol than most classic cocktails, which makes it perfect for enjoying during an afternoon event. It’s the perfect alternative to a simple beer and an ideal pairing with salty snacks. 

Michelada recipes differ based on region and preference. Many variations include tomato juice or clamato. Our version is slightly lighter—a chilled beer gets a kick from lime juice, spices, and savory Worcestershire sauce.  If you’re not a fan of spice, you can adjust the amount of Tabasco sauce and cayenne pepper depending on your preferred spice level.  

The best beer for a michelada 

A michelada is a classic Mexican cocktail. To respect its origins, the best choice of beer is a Mexican lager like Corona, Pacifico, or Tecate. If these aren’t available, any light lager will do. The key is to choose a simple beer that lets the other ingredients shine. Avoid bitter or floral options like IPAs, which will clash with the savory ingredients. 

Michelada Recipe 

Makes 1 michelada 

  • 2 Lime Wedges
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper 
  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice
  • 2 drops Tabasco Sauce
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Celery Salt
  • 12 oz Chilled Beer 
rim glass for michelada recipe

Combine the cayenne and salt in a shallow dish. Rub 1 lime wedge along the rim of a pint glass and roll the outside rim of the glass in the cayenne-salt mixture. This way you’ll get a little bit of spicy salt with each sip, but the mixture won’t all fall into your drink. Add the lime juice, tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and celery salt to the glass. Top with the beer and garnish with the remaining lime wedge. Enjoy!

Pair this cocktail with the Blue Apron Tailgating Box for an easy fall party.

How Sparkling Wine is Made 

Sparkling wines are synonymous with celebration, but they can also be full of complex flavors that make them exceedingly food-friendly. Here’s a closer look at what it takes to get a bottle of bubbly on your table. 

Blue apron sparkling wine
Try our new sparkling wines

How sparkling wine gets its bubbles

There are several different methods for creating bubbles in sparkling wine. Winemakers chose a method based on their budget, location, and desired flavors.

Méthode champenoise

The méthode champenoise, also known as the traditional method, is the classic way of producing sparkling wine in Champagne, France. The key element of this method is that the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The fermentation produces carbon dioxide, which is trapped in the bottle and absorbed by the wine. This creates a fine, delicate carbonation. 

Charmat method

In the charmat method, which is commonly used to create Prosecco, the secondary fermentation occurs in a steel fermenting tank. Compared to the traditional method, the charmant method is simpler and less expensive. 

Ancestral method

This is the oldest method of creating sparkling wine. In this process, the wine is bottled before the initial fermentation is complete. The fermentation finishes in the bottle, creating light carbonation. This method is inexpensive, but can be difficult to control. Today, it is commonly used to create wines labeled pétillant naturel, sometimes referred to as “pét-nats.” 

Carbonation method

In the carbonation method, a still wine is created from start to finish and then carbonated in a pressurized tank. No secondary fermentation occurs. This method is generally only used in lower-quality, bulk-produced wines. 

How méthode champenoise wine is made


Grapes are harvested and fermented into a still, dry wine. This base wine is known as a cuvée


The cuvée is bottled with the addition of a tirage, a liquid solution of sugar and yeast. The tirage kick starts the second fermentation. 

Secondary fermentation 

As the additional yeast cells consume the remaining sugar, they give off carbon dioxide, which creates gas and pressure. Because the bottle is sealed, the wine is forced to absorb the gas, creating carbonation. At this stage, the dead yeast cells remain in the bottle, and are known as the lees. The lees impart delicate, toasty flavors into the wine. 

As the added yeast cells consume the remaining sugar, they give off carbon dioxide. The sealed bottle traps the gas, and the wine is forced to absorb it, creating carbonation. The yeast cells that remain in the bottle are known as the lees. The lees impart delicate, toasty flavors into the wine. 


During riddling, bottles are stored upside down in a slanted rack and rotated. This allows the yeast cells to settle in the neck of the bottle.


To remove the spent yeast cells, the neck of the bottle is quickly frozen. The wine is opened, and the dead cells are forced out by the pressure in the bottle. 


After the yeast cells are removed, a dosage may be added. A dosage is a mixture of wine and sugar, which is added to round out the flavors of the wine. The amount of dosage determines the sweetness of the finished wine. Brut and extra brut wines receive little to no dosage. 

After the yeast cells are removed, a dosage may be added to round out the flavors of the wine. A dosage is a mixture of wine and sugar. The amount added determines the sweetness of the finished wine. 

Cork & cage 

After the wine is finished, it’s closed with a cork. The carbonation creates pressure in the bottle, so a metal cage to keep the cork in place. Each cage is closed with a loop that requires precisely six twists to open. 

The finished wine closed with a cork. Carbonation creates pressure in the bottle, so a metal cage is used to keep the cork in place. Each cage is closed with a loop that requires six twists to open. 

Our new sparkling bottles

The Blue Barrel Brut, Blue Barrel Brut Reserve, and Blue Barrel Brut Rosé are made using méthode champenoise, the most complex and respected method for producing sparkling wine. Our sparkling wines are full of bright acidity and beautiful aromatic fruit that make them easy to enjoy with almost any meal. It’s always a good idea to keep a bottle handy.

Learn more about how to pair these wines here.

What’s the Best Food to Bring to the Beach?

beach food picnic
Make sure olives are pitted

Going to the beach is supposed to be relaxing, but sometimes planning for a day of doing nothing can be surprisingly stressful. Your whole beach crew needs sun protection, a prime spot on the sand, and of course, the perfect beach food. That last item can get a little tricky—some foods are better suited for the beach than others. To make relaxing a little easier, here’s a rundown of the best foods to bring to the beach. 

To be a good beach treat, a snack needs to check a few basic boxes. The key elements of an oceanside lunch are: 

A beach food needs to travel well

From cooler, to car, to shore, it might be hours from when you pack your lunch to the time you dig in. The best beach foods should be able to hold up to the heat, and maybe even improve as they sit. This means no temperature sensitive items. Sorry, but poke is off the menu. 

Find a snack that doesn’t produce trash

The goal here is to make things easier. You don’t want to spend your day at the beach keeping track of wrappers or other refuse, and you certainly don’t want to leave anything behind on the pristine sands. If you plan ahead, this should be easy to solve for. Just pit any cherries before you pack them, slice a watermelon and discard the rind, and avoid individually wrapped snacks. 

Focus on refreshing foods

Hours out in the heat can be depleting, even if you’re just lounging. Fresh foods with a high water content and salty foods to replace lost electrolytes will keep you frolicking in the waters all afternoon. Of course, we can’t deny the pleasure of a stealthy glass or rosé or a pre-made cocktail, even if it makes you a little sleepy. Just make sure to bring along plenty of water. 

Highly recommended: 

Pre-cut fruit 

Some fruits will travel better than others. Raspberries are lovely, but are a little delicate for the beach. Strawberries with the tops trimmed off will transport well and be easy to eat. Be sure to remove any pits or peels before packing your fruit, lest you be burdened with scraps to throw away. Sliced apples may oxidize slightly, but will still be fine to eat. If you don’t like the appearance of browning, toss them in lemon juice before packing. Grapes are also a great choice.

watermelon is a good beach food

Potato chips 

Any chip will work, but potato chips are the perfect salty treat to satisfy cravings and encourage you to drink water. They’re delicious on their own, which means you don’t have to fuss with any potentially messy dips or salsas. 

Cheese and crackers

If you’re aiming for a sophisticated vibe, throw some soft cheeses in a cooler. They’ll keep well, and are delicious at room temperature. Be sure to pack the requisite tools. Having a knife, plate, and napkins will make things infinitely easier. 

Pressed sandwiches

Eventually, you may crave a more substantial meal. That’s when it’s time to bust out the sandwiches. When packing the perfect beach sandwich, the secret is in the bread. A sliced sandwich-style bread can get soft and soggy over time. A hearty baguette or ciabatta will absorb flavors and only grow more delicious. A pressed sandwich like a cuban or a pan bagnat is the ultimate travel hero—even if it ends up squished under a book, it will just enhance the flavor.   

Looking for more travel treats? Try our favorite snack for road trips.

Recipe: A Lemonade Cocktail Spiked with Basil

lemonade cocktail and a lobster roll
The perfect summer pairing

With summer in full swing, we’re all about easy entertaining. This lemonade cocktail can be served prepared in a large batch and served in a pitcher. That way, guests can help themselves to refills, and you can keep the party going. To make things even easier, the lemon basil syrup can be made the day before.

Lemonade cocktail recipe


  • 8 lemons
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 sprigs basil
  • 16 oz gin (optional)
  • 16 oz plain sparkling water 
  • Cucumber slices (for garnishing)


Make the lemon sugar: Wash and dry the fresh produce. Using a sharp vegetable peeler or a paring knife, peel the rind off the lemon to get long pieces of peel. In a small bowl, combine the lemon peel and sugar. Using a muddler, wooden spoon, or your hands, smash the peels and sugar together until some of the oils release and the sugar becomes fragrant. Cover and let stand for 3 hours or place in the refrigerator overnight. 

Make the lemon-basil syrup: In a small pot, combine the lemon peel and sugar mixture with 1 cup of water. Heat to boiling on medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot. Turn off the heat. Add the sprigs of basil and stir to combine. Let stand until the mixture has cooled to room temperature. Strain the liquid into a bowl, discarding the lemon peel and basil sprigs. Juice the lemons, discarding any seeds. Add the lemon juice to the bowl of strained syrup and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a pitcher. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Prepare the cocktail: To the pitcher of lemon-basil syrup, add the gin, if using. Stir to combine. Add the sparkling water and stir once more. To serve, fill collins glasses with ice and pour in cocktail from the pitcher. Garnish with cucumber slices. Enjoy!

basil lemonade cocktail at lobster dinner
Serve a lemonade cocktail with your lobster feast

For an easy summer gathering, serve this lemonade cocktail with our first ever lobster box.

Best Wines for Summer Dinners

The best wines for summer depend on the occasion. Some of our warm weather favorites are perfect for sipping on the beach, while others are best when paired with dinner.

Summer is traditionally a time for chilled whites and rosé wines, but if you’re serving up hearty grilled fare, a robust red will bring out the best in your dinner. Try some of these bottles to keep your glass filled all summer long.

Sparkling wine

best wines for summer, sparkling
Sparkling wine bundle

Blue Barrel brut sparkling wines are delicious on their own, with salty cheeses, or with delicate summer seafoods. Try enjoying these wines chilled with grilled shrimp or raw oysters for a delightful summery treat.

 Pairing tip: For fresh flavor, try a high-acid wine

Wines with tart acidity can enhance the flavors of fresh vegetables. Try a bright white like a sauvignon blanc to enliven our Summer Bean & Goat Cheese Panzanella.




Big bold reds

best red wines for summer
Big bold reds bundle

Delicate whites can be a lovely summer treat, but when the grill is out, a red is your best bet. Complex, smoky wines like the el Rede malbec will enhance the flavor of the grill and pair well with beautifully charred steaks or burgers.

Pairing tip: Make it meaty

An oak-aged red wine will combine fruity flavors with notes of warming spice. These full flavors complement richer dishes, and the tannins will cleanse and prime your palate for another bite. Pair reds with burgers like our Ginger Pork Burger.


Pairing tip: Spice is nice

Dishes with plents of spices—not hot spice, per se—can play well with the spice aromas in oak-aged red wine. Try an oaky red with dishes like our Spiced Lamb & Beef Tagine.


Beautiful rosé wines

rose wines for summer
Endless summer rosé bundle

The thing to love about this wine is how delightfully deceptive it is. Its fruity aromas suggest the wine is sugary—yet it’s almost completely dry, with a bright zestiness that makes your mouth water for more. The powerful, alluring aromas and overall vibrancy of the wine are what help it pair so well with wildly different types of dishes.

Paring tip: Think light, summery fare

A light, crisp wine draws out the fresh flavors of vegetables, and makes something like a simple as a salad taste more exciting. These particular wine’s aromas will add an extra dimension to our Romaine, Potato & Snap Pea Salad.

Pairing tip: Opposites often do attract


In the same way that fruit matches spice or hot matches sour, a light, floral wine can often provide a delightful contrast to an earthy, savory dish. Sometimes it takes just one ingredient to bridge the gap, as black garlic does in our Shoyu Ramen.

Try these wines by subscription, or order ala carte from our marketplace.

Gin & Ginger Ale Punch

Ginger Gin Punch Ingredients

Gin and ginger ale combine forces to make this spicy, refreshing gin punch.

This gingery punch will be beloved by all—even those who claim to not like gin-based drinks! The angostura bitters turn this punch a gorgeous shade of  blush and the massive ice cube, shaped by a bundt pan, cools the festive drink without making it watery.

Sliced Lime

The ingredient list is simple. You’ll need limes, ginger root, and ginger ale. The ginger root gets minced into pieces and made into a sweet, spicy syrup that gives this cocktail a special kick.

Ginger Gin Punch in A Bowl Being Served

Ginger ale blends all the flavors together and adds pizzazz with some bubbles. To garnish, try frozen lime slices. Freezing them before helps the slices maintain their shape in the punch. Once everything is all mixed in together, the punch is ready and your work is done.

Cheers Over A Ginger Gin Punch Bowl

Read on for the full recipe

Continue reading “Gin & Ginger Ale Punch”

How Tannins Make a Good Wine Pairing

header wine tannins

Pairing food and wine is as much about feel as it is about flavor. We’re not talking about your feelings, we’re talking about the effect that tannins have on your palate as you sip a glass of wine. If you consider the mouthfeel, or texture, of your wine, you’ll have an even better dining experience. Of course, your feelings matter too.

Here’s a way to think about it: If you practice yoga, you use a mat with little grooves on the surface, right? Those grooves give you grip. ‘Grip’ is the also the term that wine experts use to describe a red wine’s tannins. Tannins are polyphenols, natural compounds in wine that quickly bind to proteins; your saliva contains proteins, so tannins give your palate the feeling of drying out. Have you ever let a cup of tea steep for too long, taken a sip, and found that it tasted really dry and bitter? That’s the effect of tannin. In addition to grapes, as they’re found in most plants.

wine-info-graph tannins

Tannins grip your saliva and prime your palate for that next bite of food, just as your feet grip the yoga mat. The more difficult the pose, the more grip you want the mat to have. And the more tannic a wine, the more likely it is to pair with richer, more flavorful food. Tannins can make complex flavors pop after each sip of wine. Below are a few pairings we suggest.

tannins in nero d'avola
tannins in pinot noir

Just how important a factor are tannins in pairing? Forgetting flavors for a moment, each and every wine, red or white, can be thought of in these four aspects in terms of their food-pairing options: Tannins, sweetness, body and acidity. One of the wines below is red, one is white. Can you guess which is which and, therefore, would pair better with a rich, juicy steak?


In terms of sweetness, body and acidity, the wines are very similar. Tannins are the key differentiator. Tannins are found in the skins of grapes. Red wines are made by soaking the grape juice along with the skins to extract the red color and tannins. White wines are made by pressing the grapes so there’s no contact with the skins and, therefore, no tannin extraction into the wine. Most white wines don’t contain tannins.

If you guessed that the wine on the left is the red wine, you’re right! That is the wine that we’d pair with a steak. The wine’s tannins will not only help cut the richness of the meat, they’ll dry out and cleanse your palate. Take another sip, and now you’ll enjoy the wine’s flavors and textures on their own—and you’ll especially enjoy the next bite of meat!

tannins in bordeaux

When you’re considering pairings, definitely think about complementary flavors in the food and the wine. But remember that the effect of the wine’s core components on your palate, particularly the amount of tannins, is just as important a factor—sometimes, the most important one.

Want to experience these pairings first-hand? Order wine delivered to your door with Blue Apron.

Delight Your Friends with This Color Changing Cocktail

The problem with April Fool’s day is that it can be a little … mean. This year, try a surprise instead of a prank. Chef Lili Dagan developed this color changing cocktail made with butterfly pea flowers. It’s sure to delight any crowd.

If there’s a hill I’ll die on, it can be summed up as “When there’s a blue drink, order it.” 



  1. Blue Drinks are unquestionably fun (My friend Mike wrote a song about enjoying a Blue Drink with all your buds, he is not wrong.)
  2. Fun is fun!

A few general rules:

  1. Thou shall not order the Blue Drink at a chain restaurant where the Blue Drink comes with a Trademark. 
  2. Blue Drinks are best enjoyed with friends, preferably outside, preferably on an outdoor boat bar
  3. Fun as they may be, more than two is a risky idea.

Have I ever regretted ordering a blue drink? YES. Absolutely. One. Hundred. Percent. This is why I’ve decided to make my own Blue Drink. I make no promises that you won’t regret this, but an informal survey suggests you’re 70-88% less likely to feel terrible about your decisions tomorrow. 

And I’m sorry I’ve buried the lede here, but this Blue Drink is also a party trick. We are making our own blue tea ice cubes with butterfly pea flowers, a flower containing a blue pigment called anthocyanin. When it comes into contact with acid, like the acid in grapefruit juice, anthocyanin turns from blue to purple to pink. Butterfly pea flowers can be ordered online.

April Fools! Why pull a mean prank when you can provide a delightful drink?

The Pal Around Color Changing Cocktail

Makes 4 drinks

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsps butterfly pea flowers
  • 8 oz fresh grapefruit juice (reserve rounds for garnish)
  • 2 oz fresh lime juice (reserve rounds for garnish)
  • 6 oz vodka
  • 2 oz Cointreau
  • 2 oz simple syrup**

Step 1: 

Steep 2 Tbsps of butterfly pea flowers in 1 quart of boiling water. Cool, strain, and freeze into ice cubes. 

Step 2:

Juice 8oz fresh grapefruit juice and 2 oz fresh lime juice, reserving wheels of each for garnish. 

Step 3: 

Fill a cocktail shaker with regular ice. Add 6 oz vodka, 2 oz Cointreau, 8 oz grapefruit juice, 2 oz lime juice, and 2 oz simple syrup.

Step 4:

Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain over butterfly pea flower ice into a clear glass. Garnish with grapefruit and lime rounds. (I like to slide the grapefruit into the side of the glass.) Party on. 

**Chef’s Tip: You can buy simple syrup at the store, but it’s also easy to make at home. In a pot, combine equal parts water and granulated sugar. Heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool and use it for a variety of cocktails or as a sweetener for your coffee.

For more of chef Lili’s cocktail creations, click here.

Mix Things Up Winter Wine Cocktails 

wine cocktails

This year, try a holiday cocktail that with a bottle of wine. For a festive touch, our wine cocktails bring in seasonal flavors like wintry citrus, tart cranberry, and cozy baking spices. 

Winter Rosé Sangria


  • 1 500ml bottle Blue Apron Rosé wine
  • ½ cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 orange, sliced and deseeded 
  • 1 grapefruit, sliced and deseeded 
  • Seltzer
  • Optional: ½ cup liqueur, such as sweet or dry Vermouth, Campari, Aperol, Kirsch, Lillet, Maraschino Liqueur, or Triple Sec 


Pour the rose into a bowl or pitcher. 

Stir in the pomegranate juice, half of the sliced orange and grapefruit, and optional liqueur, if using. 

Chill for 4-6 hours in the fridge to let the flavors marinate. Strain the mixture, removing the sliced citrus – leaving it in may cause the sangria to become bitter. 

Serve these wine cocktails over ice. Top with seltzer and garnish with the remaining sliced fruit.

White Wine Cranberry Spritz


  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries 
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided 
  • 1 500ml bottle Blue Apron White Wine (the pairing key of Light & Fresh works best) 
  • Zest of 1 orange 


Bring 3/4 cup water, cranberries, and ½ cup of the sugar to simmer in a small saucepan. 

After about 2 minutes, when the cranberries have just begun to soften, remove about ⅓ of them with a slotted spoon onto a wire rack to dry. Let them dry for about 20 minutes, or until they’re no longer sticky. 

Meanwhile, on the stovetop, continue simmering the remaining cranberries and sugar syrup for 5 minutes, or until the cranberries are soft. Crush the cranberries against the side of the saucepan with a spoon and stir. Cook until the cranberries have broken down but the mixture is still liquidy, about another 5-10 minutes. 

Remove the cranberry mixture from heat and strain  into a measuring cup, pushing the crushed fruit against the strainer with a spoon to release any liquid. You should have about one cup of cranberry syrup. Let the syrup cool. 

To finish the candied cranberries, combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar and orange zest in a bowl. Toss the dried cranberries from the wire rack into the bowl to coat them with the citrus sugar. 

Combine 1 cup of the cranberry syrup with the bottle of white wine in a pitcher or bowl. Serve with ice, and garnish with the candied cranberries on a cocktail skewer.

Looking for more seasonal drinks? Try our easy hot toddy recipe.

Decanting Wine: Why & How to Decant Wine

wine decanter
How to decant wine

Put simply, decanting is pouring the wine from the bottle into another vessel, then serving it from that vessel into each person’s glass. This isn’t just for show—it ensures the wine smells and tastes its best. Here’s why and hot to decant wine.

What is a Decanter and What Does it Do?

Exposure to oxygen brings out the flavors and aromas in a glass of wine. Some red wines, particularly aged or bold red wines, need a little time to relax and show their full potential. Wine bottles have a narrow opening, so even when you uncork the bottle, not much air flows through. Decanters are designed to let air flow. A wide-bottomed decanter will create a shallow pool of wine with a large surface area. This exposes the wine to oxygen more quickly.

Why Decant Wine

Decanting wine brings out the best flavors in robust red wines. It can also help eliminate unwanted aromas, like the burning smell of alcohol. If you’re serving an aged wine, decanting gives you an opportunity to remove any sediment that may have formed in the bottle. As a bonus, decanters are beautiful, and will add an elegant touch to your table.

How to Decant Wine

Start by tasting your wine. Pour a small bit of the wine directly from the bottle into a glass and taste it. If you don’t smell and taste much of anything, that’s a sure sign that decanting is necessary.

Place your clean decanter on the counter, pour the wine slowly into it. If you’re serving an aged wine, stop once you start to see the sediment—that can stay behind in the bottle.

After an hour, take another sip. Do you notice a difference? The wine’s aromas and flavors should already be more obvious.

When to Decant Wine

Decant wines aged over 7 years and bold red wines like California Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, or Zinfandel. Let wine breathe for about an hour before serving. You can always open a white wine to enjoy while you wait.

Side note…
Have a bottle that you’re saving for a special occasion? Be sure to store it on it’s side in a cool, dark place.

Try this at home! Order your own wide-bottomed decanter here. It’s even dishwasher safe!

Four-Ingredient Easy Apple Cider

Easy apple cider recipe

We’re in the thick of apple picking season, and we can’t enough of the satisfying sound and feel of a plump apple being plucked from the tree. In fact, we may get just a bit over eager! Like many orchard-goers, sometimes we find ourselves bringing home a few too many apples. Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Crispin, McIntosh – whatever the variety, we have more apples than we know what to do with, and only one pie dish at home! Enter: this easy apple cider recipe.

So, this weekend when you’re rationing out your red, yellow, and green bounty, save some apples for snacking, some for baking, and some for Four-Ingredient Apple Cider, our new favorite recipe for making a serious dent in our post-apple-picking apple inventory! It is especially simple AND great for getting the kids involved. What are you waiting for? Make something delicious with the fruits of your labor!

Read on for the recipe!

Apple Cider Final

Four Ingredient Easy Apple Cider Recipe

3 Pounds Apples (We recommend a variety of types)
16 Cups Water
1 ½ to 2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
4 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Vanilla Bean (optional)

Easy Apple Cider Ingredients

Large Stockpot


Wash and dry the apples. Cut into quarters (no need to core!) and add to a large stockpot. Add water, cinnamon and sugar (up to 2 cups, depending your desired level of sweetness). Heat to a simmer over high, stirring occasionally, then reduce to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 3 hours, or until the apples are very soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

apple cider pre cooking

Once cool enough to handle, using a potato masher, large spoon or fork, mash the apples into the mixture. This step is great for kids!

Apple cider mashing

Carefully pour the mixture through a strainer set over a large bowl. Using a ladle, push the mixture through the strainer; discard any pulp, seeds and cinnamon sticks.

Apple cider straining

Refrigerate, cover and use within 1 week.

One of our other favorite drinks for fall involves hot apple cider and a few other ingredients. Most notably, bourbon! Try this recipe for the perfect Hot Toddy when you’re looking to warm up.

For the rest of your apples, try Five-Ingredient Apple Turnovers, Five Ingredient Cider Caramels, or just add apples to your dinners!

Apple Cider Final 3

Happy fall cooking!

7 Festive New Year’s Eve Drinks

New Year's Eve drinks
An assortment of New Year’s Eve drinks

Champagne is synonymous with New Year’s Eve, but the night is long, and variety is the spice of life. To make your celebration extra special, try kicking off the night with one of these festive New Year’s Eve drinks. These 7 cocktail recipes have something for everyone.

For the spice-lover: Cozy Cran-Apple Cider

1 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
8 ounces apple cider
4 ounces spiced rum
2 dashes cranberry bitters
Whole nutmeg (for garnish)
Fresh cranberries (for garnish)
1 apple (for garnish)

Heat the apple cider on low, but do not boil. While the cider heats, divide the lemon juice and rum between 2 glasses. Add a dash of cranberry bitters to each glass. Divide warmed cider between the glasses and grate a little nutmeg on top of each. Garnish with cranberries and a piece of apple.

For the sour candy fan: Meyer Lemon Champagne Cocktail

1 ounce freshly-squeezed Meyer Lemon juice
1.5 ounces elderflower syrup or liquor
10 ounces Champagne
2 pieces Meyer Lemon rind (for garnish)

Divide the Meyer Lemon juice and elderflower syrup between 2 Champagne flutes. Top with Champagne. Garnish with the Meyer lemon rind. Note: be sure to pour Champagne slowly in multiple rounds to let the bubbles settle.

If you love Dark and Stormies: Ginger Mule

3 ounces vodka
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
8 ounces ginger beer
Candied ginger (for garnish)
1 lime (for garnish)

Fill a traditional copper mule mug with crushed ice. Divide the vodka and lime juice between the mugs. Top each with ginger beer, and garnish with a lime wedge and piece of candied ginger. Top with more crushed ice if desired.

For the party-lover: Festive Gin Fizz

2 Ounces fresh yuzu juice
3/4 ounce honey
4 ounces gin
2 pasteurized egg whites
Club soda

In a cocktail shaker, combine the yuzu juice and honey. Stir to thoroughly dissolve the honey. Add the gin and egg whites and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Add 2 handfuls of ice and shake for additional 10 seconds until very cold and the mixture is frothy. Using a strainer, divide the chilled gin mixture between 2 glasses. Top each with club soda. Garnish with yuzu rind if desired.

For the fruit-lover: Blood Orange Margarita

4 ounces freshly-squeezed blood orange juice
2 ounces Cointreau or Triple Sec
4 ounces Tequila blanco
1 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Salt (for garnish)
Blood orange (for garnish)

Place the salt on a dry, flat surface. Wet the outside rim of a glass with water and roll the rim of glass around in the salt to cover. Carefully fill each glass with ice. In a shaker, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, Cointreau or Triple Sec and Tequila. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Add 2 handfuls of ice. Shake vigorously for another 10 seconds until very cold. Divide the chilled mixture between the prepared glasses. Garnish with thin slice of blood orange.

If you’re craving something light: Winter Mint Swizzle

2 ounces freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce honey
4 ounces Bourbon
5 dashes citrus bitters
6 sprigs fresh mint

In a shaker combine the honey, lemon juice and 4 of the mint sprigs. Muddle until the herbs are fragrant and the honey has dissolved. Add the bourbon and shake vigorously for 5 seconds. Add 2 handfuls of ice, and shake for an additional 10 seconds, or until very cold. Using a strainer, divide between 2 glasses. Top with crushed ice and garnish with the remaining mint sprigs.

If you have leftover Christmas candy: Candy Cane Cooler

5 ounces Kahlua
4 ounces half and half
2 ounce vodka
2 to 3 drops peppermint extract
3 Candy Canes (for garnish)

Carefully crush one candy cane (to prevent it from flying everywhere, you can put it in plastic bag). Transfer the crushed candy cane to a dry, flat surface. Wet the rim of a glass with water and roll the rim of glass around in the crushed candy cane to cover. Carefully fill each glass with ice. In a shaker, combine the vodka, half and half, peppermint extract, 1 ounce of the Kahlua and ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds or until very cold. Divide the remaining Kahlua between the prepared glasses. Top with the chilled half and half mixture. Garnish each with a candy cane.

Once you have your New Year’s Eve drinks selected, don’t forget about the snacks. Try creating a beautiful cheese plate for a sense of occasion.