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  • Writer's pictureJ. M. White

Hot Spiked Apple Cider (Off Season)

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

Now that it is nearing October, I am finally ready to embrace fall.

Bring on the apples and pumpkins!

Because I associate fall with Halloween, I wanted my first autumn-inspired cocktail to be accompanied by a horror book, and not just any horror book, but the scariest I’ve ever read: Off Season by Jack Ketchum. Warning: this book is not for the faint of heart. It contains extreme violence, language, and sexual situations. I’m a huge horror junkie and even I must admit this was a tough read for me. Stephen King is famous for pushing boundaries. He dances on the line of acceptable and horrifying. In Off Season, however, Ketchum leaps over the boundary and keeps sprinting full force, hitting you with horror after horror. If you are up for the challenge, I promise this is a book that will haunt you long after you’ve put it down.

What's the Plot?

Off Season is Ketchum’s first novel, originally published in 1980. It follows an editor and her group of friends on a retreat in a desolate cabin in Maine. They do not know that a savage family of cannibals lurks in the vast woods around them. Nor do they know that these people are not only primitive skilled hunters, they are hungry. Dubbed “too violent”, Off Season was taken out of circulation after the first printings sold out. It was picked up for republication in 1999 and released as an “uncut” edition (which is the version I have pictured above). It went on to inspire the cult classic horror film by Wes Craven, The Hills Have Eyes.

Whatcha Drinkin'?

One of my favorite drinks in the cooler autumn weather is hot apple cider. Add some rum to it, and I’m in heaven. My Spiked Apple Cider recipe is perfect for parties. Cut the recipe in half or quarter it for nights you want to curl up in front of a movie or, better yet, a book.

If you consider yourself brave enough to read one of the most terrifying horror books ever written by a man that Stephen King has called “the scariest guy in America” then whip up a batch of this spiked apple cider ASAP. I guarantee you will need some liquid courage to finish this book.

Happy reading!

Hot Spiked Apple Cider


Yield: 10 servings

Total time: 10 minutes

What You Need:

- 8 cups apple cider

- 1 red apple, cored and sliced thin

- 1 orange, sliced into thin rounds

- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin

- Juice of one lemon

- 2 cinnamon sticks

- 2 cups dark rum

What You Do:

1. In a large pot combine apple cider, apple slices, orange slices, ginger, lemon juice, and cinnamon sticks. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and stir in rum.

3. Ladle into glasses and serve immediately.

** Before adding rum, the mixture can stay on low heat for up to 2 hours until ready to serve. Adding rum while the cider is still cooking will cause the alcohol to evaporate.


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