Welcome back! I’ve been busy in the cocktail kitchen. We all know that with fall comes pumpkin-spiced everything, but what else does the great harvest season have to offer? This past week, I once again turned to my faithful source for local foods—The B&H—and found out for myself.
I was feeling a little uninspired before I went grocery shopping. It was a cold, damp day and all I wanted to do was lounge by the fireplace with a hot beverage. As I wandered through the produce section, I was pleasantly surprised by the abundance and variety of apples; Spartan, Empire, Royal Gala, Honey Crisp…I had no idea there were so many kinds! When I spotted the local cranberries and apple cider, I knew just what I would make: a Hot Harvest Punch. Here are my local goods this week:
1. Cranberry wine from Blue Gypsy Wines in Oxford Mills
2. Apple cider from Smyth's Apple Orchard, Iroquois
In the mid-1800s, Smyth's Apple Orchard began as a family-run business located in Dundela, Ontario. Two historical monuments commemorate John McIntosh there, where he first discovered the McIntosh red apple tree in his back yard. Through careful grafting and redistribution of the tree and its seeds, the native apple grew in popularity. McIntosh orchards all over the world originated from this single tree.
3. Cortland apples, also from Smyth's Apple Orchard, Iroquois
4. Cranberries from Upper Canada Cranberries in Ottawa
Important note: Blue Gypsy's cranberry wine is very sweet. I'm glad I tasted it before adding sugar to the cranberries because the wine and apple cider provide enough sweetness, so no sugar is needed.
Recipe for the Hot Harvest Punch (serves 12):
In a large stock pot, add:
4 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups water
Cook on medium heat until cranberries start to pop, then add:
2L apple cider
750ml cranberry wine
2 diced apples
3 cinnamon sticks
Cook on medium-high until boiling, remove from heat
Garnish with fresh cinnamon or an apple slice
This cocktail is perfect for a cozy autumn night in. Using fresh, seasonal (and local!) fruits is always a great feeling. The cinnamon and apple cider provide a lovely smell that fills your house when you heat it up, and the cranberry wine is delicious. All of these flavours work so well together.
Paulina Grace Hrebacka
Paulina is an aspiring writer with an interest in philosophy, cultural criticism, journalism, and creative non-fiction. She also enjoys music, film, photography, and astronomy. On a good day, you might find her eating pizza and enjoying an amber ale, or listening to very loud music while driving too fast. She is a true lover of life.