You can fill a pie with apples, or make sauce out of them. But some of our favorite apple products are the drinks. So here is the $64,000 question, "What is the difference between apple juice and apple cider."

If you go by the Federal Government, there is no legal distinction. But many people say that if you buy it in a store, it is apple juice. If you make it at home, it is apple cider. The diifference might be in the fact that most homemade ciders have not been pasteurized and will ferment in the container. This gives ciders a mild alcoholic quality. Others will claim that if it is clear, call it juice. Cloudy? Then you have cider. The answer is, there is no real answer.

The appletini, or apple martini is a vodka drink that is flavored with apple juice or cider. It was first served in the 1970's by Irish bartender Barry Lovern.

Calvados is an apple brandy that comes the region in France known as Basse-Normandie or Lower Normandy. The apples are picked and fermented into a dry cider. The "apple wine" is then distilled into a spirit and left to age in oak casks for two years. After that time the bevergae can be sold as Calvados.

homemade apple cider

8-10 Apples (use a non-tart variety)
3/4 cup sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
4 tablespoons all spice

Quarter your apples (no need to remove peel or seeds).

In a large stock pot add your apples and fill with water--just enough to cover the apples.

Add your sugar.

Wrap your cinnamon and allspice in a doubled up cheese cloth and tie, and add this to the apples and water.

Boil on high for one hour (uncovered) checking on it frequently.

Turn down heat and let simmer for two hours (covered).

Take off the heat after two hours of simmering and let cool.

Remove spices and mash up the apples to a pulp like consistency (a potato masher works well for this).

Once cool pour into a strainer over a large bowl. When most of the juice has drained away, put the remainder of the pulp into a doubled up cheese cloth and squeeze over the bowl until no more juice comes out.

At this point you can either restrain the juice to get out the little bits of pulp that remain with a cheese cloth draped inside the strainer to catch them or just leave it like – your choice.

You can store in an air tight container in your refrigerator for up to a week or you can freeze it for later use if you like. Makes about 1/2 gallon.

homemade apple juice

12 Apples (Preferably baking apples)
2 tsp. Lemon Juice
Sugar (To taste)

Slice the apples and boil until soft, with enough water to cover them. Strain the juice in a bowl and stir in sugar until it has dissolved. Chill. Before serving, stir in 2 tsp. of lemon juice for every pint of apple juice. Dilute with water and serve over ice cubes in old-fashioned glasses.

appletini martini

2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Apple Pucker Schnapps or
1/2 oz. Apple Juice or Cider

Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with apple slices.

Keep the Appletini really cold and adjust the pucker to suit your taste.

calvados sidecar

1 lemon wedge
granulated sugar for coating rims of glasses
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) Calvados
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) orange liqueur such as Cointreau
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Equipment: a cocktail shaker with strainer
Garnish: lemon twists

Run lemon wedge around rims of 2 small Martini glasses to moisten. Spread sugar on a small plate and dip rims in sugar to lightly coat.

Fill shaker with ice and add Calvados, Cointreau, and lemon juice. Shake vigorously 10 seconds, then strain into glasses.