AKA: Do-it-yourself Apple Cider.
With all of those delicious ready to heat-and-drink ciders out on the market, it can be difficult to go back to the original. I, myself, have skipped over this holiday classic for the last few years. Admittedly, it is just so much easier to buy some stuff ready-made during the holidays (at Trader Joe’s, of course) when you have so many other things to remember to purchase or prepare.
But, just this once, make your own delicious cider. It might just forever change your mind. Several years ago, my family discovered that Hot Spiced Apple Cider had a really great alternative name: Wassail. I am not quite sure why we thought this name ruled, but we would always say it with a strange nasally accent, and then run to go get more refills!
So, as we were frolicking around the house, dancing to Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas Classics on cassette tape (RIP little tape, we will miss you), we would intermittently break to sip on Wassail. Oh, by “dancing” to the Mannheim Christmas soundtrack, I really mean putting on tube socks and sliding around on the hardwood floors, pretending we were ice-skating.
Yea….I am being totally serious.
All you have to do, in order to enjoy a simple holiday drink is this:
Add juices. Prepare spice sachet, which can be made with a cheese cloth, tea filter, or coffee filter, tied with string. I went the coffee filter route, since that is all that I found and got creative with it.
Add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer for about 20 minutes…
Mmmm I can just smell that spiced cider now! You can’t contain it; the holiday aromas fill the air.
Pour (carefully) and enjoy!
1 coffee filter
I string from tea bag (string only—cut off the bag, cut off the label)
2 Tbsp mulled spices (mixture of dried orange peel, whole cloves, cinnamon, star anise, whole cardamom…etc)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
6 cups apple juice
1 ½ cup orange juice, no or low pulp
3 cups cranberry juice
2 small blood oranges (or 1 orange), sliced in rounds and then halved
3 whole cinnamon sticks
Spiced Rum (optional)
Add the mulled spices, along with half of the loose ground spices, to a tea filter, coffee filter (McGivered above), OR a cheese cloth and tie together.
In a large pot over a low flame, heat the apple juice, cranberry juice, orange juice, blood oranges, spice sachet, cinnamon stick and the remaining ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Ladle into a mug, and garnish with an orange slice and cinnamon stick! Enjoy as it warms your soul.