Spiced pumpkin this and spiced pumpkin that. Those beverages are everywhere, even making the national news! If you're looking for something simple and tasty, try making a batch of apple cider. A trip to a local orchard, farmer's market, or even the grocery store will offer an Autumnal array of apples.

Using a stove top method, I made a batch using a combination of Gala, Fugi, and Braeburn apples. Although my cider was not as "hearty" as cider from a press, it was fresh and delicious. I like cold cider without the spices, but when heating it up, I like to add cinnamon and cloves. Below is the recipe that I used.

10 to 12 apples

1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar


Cinnamon sticks, whole cloves (optional)

Cut the apples and put into a large stockpot. Add cold water, just enough to cover the apples. Add in the sugar. If you're adding spices, place them in cheesecloth tied with twine, before adding to the apples. Boil on medium-high heat for 45 minutes. Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Turn off the heat and cool for about 30 minutes. If you've added a spice bag, remove it now. After the apples have cooled, mash them lightly with a potato masher. Strain the liquid into another container. Place the pulp in a single layer of cheesecloth, a little at a time. Wring the juice from the pulp in the separate container. Cool completely. The cider can be stored for up to a week, covered, in the refrigerator. Serve cold or reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.