The weather cools. Change looms.
For me, fall has always been a time of renewal–like my own personal new year. The air feels fresh. Summer’s humidity fades into cobalt blue skies punctuated with layers of bright-white clouds.
While this season of newness inspires my senses (particularly my culinary senses), it also quietly heralds a melancholy I can’t quite explain. I think I miss the constant activity of summer, but then realize the shorter daylight hours of winter’s approach are only giving me a bit more time to ponder. More time to think about the important things in life, like relationships and balance. I begin to miss the ease and depth of friendships with friends far away (and the summer memories we made). I regret the bigness of the world. I wish my own world would shrink and loved ones would be close enough to sit with me, enjoying the autumn air, even for just a moment.
So what’s an introspective, fall-loving, melancholy life-ponderer to do?
What anyone would do, really. I buy some good red wine, a fifth of brandy and combine it with a few cinnamon sticks and local honeycrisp apples. The world dwindles, slows. It becomes as small as a glass, the deck, a voice on the line, and the refreshingly cool, ever-changing fall breeze blowing through crepe myrtle trees.
1 bottle red wine (I used Shiraz)
1/3 cup brandy
4 honeycrisp apples, peeled and medium diced
3 cinnamon sticks
2 pinches nutmeg
2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
In a large pitcher, combine the apples with the nutmeg and black pepper. Pour the red wine, cider, and brandy over the apples. Cut the orange in half–slice one half and squeeze the juice of the other half into the red wine mixture. Add the cinnamon sticks and orange slices to the pitcher. Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour. I sampled this after about 30 minutes and it was delicious, but tasted much more like fall after a few hours. The next day it was autumnal perfection–a seasonal cocktail to share with your closest friend.