Sometimes all you want is a nice mug of something warm and as it has been rather stormy here that is definitely high on my list. I am not huge on hot chocolate but still want something that is festive and will give me that warm fuzzy feeling so apple cider is my next choice drink for the season.
Apple cider is perfect for serving up to guests of all ages and can be made in large quantities so you never run out, it can be cooked on the stovetop or in a crockpot, and I was also thinking if you wanted to, you could cook it over a fire.
If you have ever gone to Starbucks you may have noticed they have a caramel apple cider drink on their menu. I love to get these but even when I ask for half sweet they are definitely a sugar attack. I have to sip at it slowly and wait a several weeks before even contemplating getting another one. Instead of going out to Starbucks I decided to make some cider at home. I like the idea that I will now have apple cider at my fingertips without having to venture out into the storm to have some.
This recipe omits the caramel part but if you want to add it go right ahead, as its a versatile recipe. Also, if you are like me and hate waste all the leftover apple mash can be kept frozen and used in baked goods.
You could also spike it with rum for an adult version, just remember to make a non-alcoholic version for any underage guests or apple cider purists like me.
PS- the smell is amazing!
- 10-12 apples, any variety
- 1 navel orange
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 Tbsp whole cloves
- 1-2 star anise (optional)
- 1 Tsp allspice
- Dash of nutmeg
- 14 Cups water
- 2 Cups apple juice (optional, you can use all water)
- ¼-1/2 Cup brown sugar
- Cut apples into quarters.
- Cut orange into quarters.
- Place both in large stockpot. Add cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves and nutmeg and star anise. Cover with water (and juice). Pot should be almost full. Place lid on and bring to rapid boil then turn heat down to low-medium heat to simmer for two hours.
- Once apples are soft, mash them up with a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon. Stir mashed bit into the juice and cover with lid. Let simmer for a further hour.
- Remove from heat and strain out the mashed apples and orange bits along with the spices. Squeeze out any excess juice from the mash into the apple cider.
- Stir the brown sugar into the juice to sweeten.
- Serve hot with some apple slices, cinnamon sticks or caramel drizzle.
- Apple cider will keep in refrigerator for one week. To reheat either simmer on stovetop or microwave for 2 minutes.