Hot apple cider is almost synonymous with autumn. My earliest memories center around an outdoor fall festival in Sister Bay, WI, strolling packed streets in anticipation of falling ping pong balls (dropped from helicopter) and vendors selling harvest wares. As your breath steamed and you silently thanked Mom for mandating gloves, you’d be lucky to pass a hot cider vendor and everything was good.
When I reached adulthood, I decided to make mulled cider a regular fall indulgence. At every farm stand or rural market I’d buy little packets of spice mix studded with star anise, clove and orange peel. Eventually I asked, “why buy these pricey little packets when you can make your own?”
Want to give it a try? My recipe is below (but I rarely measure, so feel free to play with the mix)! Go ahead–cook, serve, put your feet up in front of a warm fire and relax. It may even make you glad for days your breath smokes.
Hot Spiced Cider
- 1 quart apple cider
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 t whole cloves
- 1 t dried orange peel (or 1 T fresh)
- 1/2 t whole allspice
1. Put ingredients in a saucepan.
2. Heat slowly until hot, but not boiling. Hold below boiling until cider has taken on enough of the spice flavor, about a half hour (or less if you want a more subtle spiciness).
3. Strain out spices and serve (if you are serving a single cup, a tea strainer works well)
4. If you’d like to turn this into a “hot toddy,” brandy or apple schnapps are great additions–about 2-3 tablespoons per cup.
1. Apples are consistently on the EWG’s “dirty dozen” list of most contaminated fruits and vegetables, so buy organic if you can.
2. Try not to let the cider boil. You can still drink it, but it may separate.