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If you’d rather not retrofit your home to imbibe fall foods and moods — or at least not for an entire evening — consider gathering everyone for a little caffeine first, followed by an “off-roading” experience. You can begin your fall festivities with a full coffee and hot chocolate bar, providing everything from mini-marshmallows to fall syrups and spices (pumpkin, maple, cinnamon and nutmeg). Then take your crew to a local corn maze, harvest festival or apple orchard. End the evening by serving a glass of mulled wine and spiked apple cider.

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Cinnamon is especially popular when the weather gets cooler and people turn to warm beverages. Use some cinnamon in your hot cocoa or coffee, or make your own spiced cider and serve with a cinnamon stick stirrer. Put a twist on your favorite cocktail or martini by adding in some cinnamon or a cinnamon-infused liquor or whiskey.

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Fondue is an entertaining way to feed the younger family members, says interior and event designer Kate Spiro of New York.

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In between curating your ideal Thanksgiving menu, don't forget to give some thought to the cocktail list. You need a stiff one, and this bourbon cider beverage is the perfect way to kick things off.

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This recipe combines chicken soup with pozole, but it’s just as much about the toppings as it is about the soup itself. I usually top my soups with something crunchy to give it contrast. One day I literally had nothing but Cheez-It crackers in my pantry; I decided to give it a go. Now, they’re the first thing I grab when sitting down with a bowl of soup. Don’t add too many at the same time because they get soggy quickly, which is why I just keep the whole box close by. — Danielle Oron

The Albany Downtown Association has a new location for its ninth annual Mid-Valley Brewfest, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27 in …

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