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Susan and Ted Axelrod

Susan and Ted are a writer and photographer team who met while working for a magazine — Susan reviewing restaurants and writing food features, Ted photographing them. When Ted left the magazine for a freelance career, they launched their blog, Spoon & Shutter in 2010 as a way to keep doing what they love, together. After many years in Northern New Jersey, they are thrilled to be living in Maine, where Ted's clients occasionally include restaurants and food businesses. When they're not working, cooking, rehabbing their old farmhouse or hanging out with their two cool dogs – Ella and Dixie – they're having a blast exploring this spectacular state. To reach Susan, email saxelrod [at] mainetoday.com or follow her on Twitter: @susansaxelrod To reach Ted, email ted [at] axelrodphotography.com or follow him on Twitter @TedAxelRodPhoto .

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Posted: October 17, 2014

The Sugar Maple

Written by: Susan and Ted Axelrod
The Sugar Maple. Photo by Ted Axelrod

The Sugar Maple. Photo by Ted Axelrod

I know I’m far from alone in saying that second only to our spectacular summer, this is my favorite time of year in Maine. But I don’t like to rush it — the leaves have to turn colors before I get inspired to bake cinnamony-scented things, buy pumpkins and drink cider.

That time is now. While the weather may be late-summer warm, with the trees in their full autumn glory, the view all around us in Southern Maine shouts “FALL.”

We were grateful for the combination of sunny days and stunning foliage for a visit earlier this week from three good friends, one of whom now lives on Maui and misses the change of seasons (we don’t feel sorry for him, not one bit).

The five of us giddily ate and drank our way around Portland, took a hike in Bradbury State Park, shopped at L.L. Bean and rode the Casco Bay ferry to Peaks Island. But one thing we planned to do — and didn’t — was pick up some local apple cider so I could make our Maui friend a very fall-in-New England cocktail I fell in love with last year. A variation of a recipe from the lovely blog, lark & linen, it includes rum, maple syrup and apple cider, with a little lime juice for a tangy bite. The original recipe calls for a spiced rum, such as Sailor Jerry, but I like to use Mount Gay and add my own spices. It’s named The Sugar Maple as a tribute to the season’s most beautiful trees.

Sorry, William. If you can track down fresh cider in your tropical paradise, at least you’ll have the recipe.

The Sugar Maple

Makes 1

Small lime wedge
Demerara sugar
2 ounces amber rum (Mount Gay is our house favorite)
1/2 ounce maple syrup (the real thing, of course)
Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1/2 ounce)
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Ground ginger
Fresh apple cider
Cinnamon stick (for garnish)

Moisten the rim of a cocktail glass with the lime wedge, then dip the rim in demerara sugar to coat. Fill glass with ice

In an ice-filled shaker, combine rum, maple syrup, lime juice, and a dash each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (be careful not to overdo it with the spices).

Shake well and strain into the prepared glass. Top with apple cider and stir gently.

Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Adapted from A Maple Spiced Cocktail: lark & linen.

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