Thursday, December 22, 2011

Spiced Apple Cider



As days are getting colder, many of us are looking for something comforting that would keep us warm from inside out. For some of us hot chocolate is the winter drink of choice, while others choose grog or spiced apple cider for the ultimate warming experience.

The tradition of warming beer or wine goes back to Medieval Europe where honey and spices were added to beer, ale, cider, or wine during the cold winter months. 

There are some classic ingredients that are always used in mulled wines, but some people would add vanilla pods, cardamom, mace, ginger, pomegranate juice, or raisins. There is no limit to one's creativity. 

The recipe below is for the purists and for those who are rather timid in the kitchen and who do not wish to experiment too much. 

Recipe serves 5-6 persons. Although most alcohol will evaporate during cooking, the drink is not suitable for children.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 gallon apple cider, preferably organic
  • 2-3 pods of star anise
  • 8-10 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp grated allspice
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 organic orange
  • 3-5 tbsp organic honey
  • 1 sweet organic apple, thinly sliced

Method:

Pour the apple cider into a saucepan and add all the spices and orange juice. If you used organic orange, you may also add the washed orange peel. Simmer on a small fire for about 15 minutes. Do not boil as the spices may turn bitter at hot temperature.

Add the apple slices and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Add honey and stir.

You may want to strain the liquid through a colander before pouring it into tall cups. 

Enjoy in good company!

By Dominique Allmon ©2011