When I think of the fall/winter season, I immediately think of delicious apple cider! Apple cider is a naturally sweet, unfiltered beverage made from apples. It is especially popular in the New England states and also in upstate NY.
My favorite version of this drink is Mulled Apple Cider, which is basically warm cider with lovely aromatic spices. Itís very simple to make and a real treat to drink. If youíve never had before, itís a must try beverage ☺. Itís both soothing and refreshing, I enjoy drinking it anytime of day Ė morning, afternoon and evening!
One of the best things about making mulled apple cider is the heavenly fragrance that wafts throughout your house letting everyone know when itís ready. Feel free to tailor and adjust the spices to suit your familyís palate.
MULLED APPLE CIDER
1 quart apple cider
1 cinnamon stick (about 2Ē in length)
1 star anise
2 coriander seeds
2 black peppercorns
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2 whole allspice berries
2 whole cloves
honey or brown sugar, to taste
1 long strip of fresh orange peel
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
In a small dry skillet on medium heat, lightly toast the cinnamon stick along with the star anise, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cardamom pods, allspice berries and whole cloves). Do not burn, set aside until needed.
In a large saucepan on medium low heat, combine the apple cider with the whole spices (cinnamon, star anise, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cardamom pods, allspice berries and whole cloves). If you have tea infuser, that works really and I highly recommend using it for the spices. It will make it much easier later when serving. Next, stir in the honey making sure it dissolves completely. Donít forget to add in the orange peel, ground ginger and freshly grated nutmeg.
Bring the apple cider to a gentle boil and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Then cover the saucepan and completely turn off the heat. Let steep for at least 10-15 minutes, the longer the better. Serve warm and enjoy!
Feel free to add a few orange slices or some dried cranberries to the apple cider. You can also add a few drops of vanilla or almond extract.
For an adult version with alcohol feel free to add a little brandy for a kick. You can add apple brandy (Calvados) or even a plum brandy. Liqueurs such as Grand Marnier work well too.