Crisp mornings & sunny afternoons make it the absolutely perfect time for a jaunt to the countryside apple orchard...

Along with soft scarves & argyle knee highs, Autumn brings about my craving for all things apple (seriously - I just can’t put them in enough recipes, cocktails included!). I recommend this apple adaptation for filling a thermos for that fall orchard picnic, football game - or any old excuse to wrap up in a plaid blanket & sip something warm. Tote along apple slices, a smoky cheddar cheese...and a lovely little something to warm you from the inside out.

Mulled Spiced Cider

2 quarts fresh apple cider (in a pinch, jarred from the grocery will do the trick)
1/2 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
2 cinnamon sticks + 10 for garnish (1 per mug)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash nutmeg
1 1/2 ounces rum (sometimes I substitute Spiced Rum for extra flavor)

With cloves and allspice in a teaball, cook all ingredients in a crockpot on low 2-8 hours (it smells divine!). Stir occasionally to dissolve sugar. Want to make it quicker? Just warm in a medium size pot on the stove on low heat 20 - 30 minutes or until your concoction is simmering & the sugar is melted. At this point, add 1 1/2 ounces (Bacardi) Gold Rum per mugful when poured. If pouring into a thermos, combine and pour at the end; just don’t cook the rum. Serves 10.

* images via [ & recipe via Anna Wolf, Martha Stewart, & we heart it]

of le petit happy