When we lived in L.A. we discovered Galco's Soda Pop Stop and you would have thought Brandon had died and gone to heaven when we went there once on a date. (Sprecher's Puma Kola is my personal favorite, but we found that back in Iowa City at The New Pioneer Co-op.) There was a little wine cooler built into the mud room off the garage in our house in CA, and we stocked it with gourmet sodas.
Brandon is also very particular about his wassail during the holidays. (This is a traditional drink in my family at Christmas time and may be one of the reasons he decided to marry into my family.) For us, the foundation of a good wassail is a good apple cider, and Brandon is really serious about apple cider. Our first fall in CA we were distressed to find the local grocery store did not carry apple cider. They sold apple juice in a container that said apple cider, but they didn't sell apple cider.
Some time last year when we were talking about moving and considering places that would have seasons, he started talking about growing apple trees, getting a cider press and making his own apple cider. I told him to just put it out of his mind, especially the press, because I didn't even want to know what a good one cost.
Well, wouldn't you know it, the daughter of one of his patients - as a token of appreciation for his above and beyond efforts on her father's part (he's good at that) - GAVE him a cider press as a "going away" gift. Just gave it to him. Lugged it into his office, attached with a super sweet thank you card. (Why in the world they were even talking about his desire to make his own cider in a urologic setting is beyond me, but - wow - isn't that just SO thoughtful?)
So he brought it in his car - along with his 13 bonsai trees - from CA to Utah, and over the last month or so I've heard him in the basement making strange drilling and sanding noises, smelling some really bad smells (caustic, like paint thinner) coming up the stairs - him "putting together" this cider press.
Before I even knew what was happening, last Sunday afternoon I suddenly noticed him chopping up apples and enlisting the kids help in making apple cider! There were some glitches along the way, but in the end we got a fair amount of cider for the whole family to enjoy. Turns out you need a bushel to make just a gallon, so we'll be heading to an apple orchard sometime soon for some more apples. (The grocery store variety does NOT cut the mustard.) I also learned that in order to make a good cider you need equal amounts of tart, sweet, and aromatic apples. Neither of us knows yet what an aromatic apple is - he just used tart and sweet and it was yumalicious.
So I snapped a few pictures, but I really wish I would have gotten one of him with a nice, big glass full of his own homemade elixir.