The Ethics of Cider

Ethic Ciders (photo by Michael Woolsey)

When Ned and Michelle Lawton bought a small heirloom apple farm outside Sebastopol in 2013, the previous owners hadn’t spent much energy on upkeep — ‘organic by neglect’ is how Ned describes the orchard. But they couldn’t ignore the promise of the fruit that came from those old trees.

I wrote about Ethic Ciders for Field Sonoma.

Halloween Cocktail and Punch Recipes

Mother’s Ruin Punch from Epicurious

If you want to skip the dry ice and food coloring, here are some fun Halloween cocktail and punch recipes that will make you the life (or death? bwahahahaha!) of the party.

Black Cauldron Punch ~ This one takes some effort, but what you get in return is a spooky black punch with complex flavors (thanks to some tea, squid ink and currants).

Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon ~ This one’s easy … champagne and absinthe. Thank you, Hemingway (or rather, person who named a drink after Hemingway’s work)!

Blood-Red Pomegranate Punch ~ Another simple one. Pomegranate, apple brandy, ginger liqueur and sparkling cider make a gorgeous punch with a little spice.

Mother’s Ruin Punch ~ Champagne punch (yay!) gets a new twist thanks to tea-infused  vermouth.

Wonderlust ~ There are a few harder-to-fine ingredients, but with a little looking you can wow guests with this impressive midnight blue cocktail.

Fall Cocktails

Ginger’s Lost Island from Food & Wine

Summer cocktails get the most attention because of all the fresh fruits available. But fall can be just as fun. Here are a few fall-inspired cocktails to mix up this weekend.

Vanilla, Pear & Vodka Cocktail ~ Whether your pear juice is fresh or from a can, this simple cocktail is a great way to welcome autumn.

Calvados Hot Toddy ~ French apple brandy, apple cider and cream give you something luxurious and warm to sip by the fire.

Ginger’s Lost Island ~ A complex combination of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger liqueur and smoky mezcal evokes international flavors.

Bitter Pumpkin #2 ~ Pumpkin butter and hot dark chocolate give a rich texture to this amaro and spiced rum cocktail.

Fall Classic ~ Apple brandy and bourbon get an assist from citrus and herbs to give you that happy fall feeling.

DIY Melon Liqueur


Melons have more concentrated sweetness than other fruits and a distinct funky undertone that really pairs well with alcohol. A good melon liqueur can turn basic club soda into a sophisticated summer cooler or add another layer to a complex tiki drink.

Melon Liqueur
2 cups chopped cantaloupe (about half a melon)
1 1/2 cups vodka
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Combine chopped melon and vodka in a glass jar. Seal and shake, then et mixture steep for 3 days at room temperature. Strain fruit out, pressing down to extract liquid. Filter mixture through a coffee filter or through two layers of cheesecloth. Boil sugar and water over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Let syrup cool. Combine syrup with the melon infusion. Seal in bottle or jar, then shake to mix. Let rest for a minimum of one day. Store in the refrigerator for up to two months.

The recipe I created and posted here was first published on Serious Eats in my DIY vs. Buy column.