Of all of the ways to warm up on a cold winter evening– because, face it, we don’t get cold fall evenings here in the South (except for last night– Holy Cow, 26 degrees!)– my favorite is a mug of hot apple cider. There’s something soothing about sipping this deliciously warm concoction, especially if you can sip it in front of a roaring fireplace.
This is a great recipe for a holiday get-together because it makes a reasonable amount for a crowd, and, if you’re like me and use your crock pot, you can pretty much set it and forget it.
Hot Spiced Apple Cider
1 quart apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
8-10 whole cloves
cinnamon spiced whipped cream (optional)
1. Pour cider into a crock part, then add spices. Cover and set to low. Allow cider to steep for approximately 4-6 hours. Then set on warm for the duration of the party.
If you’ve got the stuff to do so, make a steeping bag for the spices–you can do it with a coffee filter and some food grade twine. I couldn’t find my cooking twine, so I just threw them in there and hoped for the best.
2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the spices from the cider. Marvel at the gigantic size the cinnamon stick has swelled to before discarding it. I suppose you could let it dry out and then grind it if you wanted to, but I don’t own a grinder, and I lack patience, so I didn’t.
3. Serve the spiced cider with a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream.
*If you don’t have a crock pot, just put it in a dutch oven over low heat on your stove top.
Yield: 8 (1/2 cup) servings