December 11th – Hot Spiced Cider
Okay, it got really cold, really quick, here in Wisconsin. I love winter, but this cold blast took me off guard, and on top of that I spent an hour standing outside, ringing bells for Salvation Army. My daughter and I have been doing this for the last 3 years. It is one of the projects my Kiwanis group does, but I like to include my daughter in it. It gives her a chance to do a little something to give back to the community and it has helped us teach her about others less fortunate than ourselves and how it is important to reach out to our fellow human beings in need. She has come to look forward to it every year and usually starts asking in September if we are going to ring bells again. She’s going through a very materialistic phase right now so it was a great chance to talk about how “things” can’t buy happiness and that we should be very thankful for what we have; a roof over our heads, food to fill our tummy, heat to keep us warm, etc. because there are many that don’t even have those basic things. She gets it, but she still wants everything that catches her fancy, but I have no doubt in my mind that she will grow out of that phase and become a wonderful, giving person, even more so than she already is.
One of my favorite ways to warm up after being out in the cold is Hot Spiced Cider. It also makes a great beverage for any winter get together and has the added bonus of making your house smell like the holidays. And it can act as double duty for both those that drink alcoholic beverages and for those that abstain for one reason or another. In fact, you can make it self serve, by placing the cider in a slow cooker set on low, to keep it warm and setting out mugs and a variety of liquors with which people can spike their own, making it as strong or as weak as they like. If you go this route, at the very least you should offer whiskey and rum for spiking the cider, but you also can’t go wrong with brandy, spiced rum, vanilla flavored vodka and any number of different types of liqueurs.
Back in December of 2011 I posted a Hot Spiced Cider recipe that was a twist on the one I grew up with. It’s ingredient list included orange juice concentrate and Red Hot candies. You can find the recipe here. This recipe is a little more standard. I like both of them, but then again what’s not to like about any Hot Spiced Cider, as long as it is made with real cider and not that clear, yellowish, apple juice looking stuff some companies try to call cider.
Hot Spiced Cider
makes 1 gallon (enough for 12-20 servings depending on the size of the mugs or coffee cups you use)
1 gallon Cider
4 sticks Cinnamon
1 1/2 Tb. Cloves, whole
2 Tb. Allspice, whole
3 Oranges, with peel, thinly sliced
Place all ingredients in a non reactive pot, bring to a simmer and allow to steep for at least 15-20 minutes. For self-serve, pour into a slow cooker, set on low and skim out as many of the cloves and allspice berries as you can. Leave the oranges and cinnamon sticks in. To spike your cider start with 1 part alcohol to 4-5 parts cider. You can adjust from there depending on your preference.