Well, we are apparently forecasted to get hit with yet another nor’easter on Halloween. I remember as a kid, some houses would serve us hot cider to keep us warm while trick-or-treating. Those (along with the houses with candied apples and tons of Reeces) were my favorite. Now that I no longer go house to house on Halloween, nor do I even get trick-or-treaters, I wanted to make a more adult hot cider to enjoy during the crummy weather.
Cooking Light must’ve read my mind, because The New Way To Cook Light showed up on my doorstep this week, with a wonderful sounding recipe for Applejack-Spiked Hot Cider!
Ingredients: (makes 6 servings)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
10 black peppercorns
8 whole allspice berries
5 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cups apple cider
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (2-inch orange rind strips)
2 (2-inch lemon rind strips)
3/4 cup applejack brandy
for garnish (optional):
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in sugar and the spices (peppercorns, allspice berries, whole cloves and cinnamon sticks) and cook for 1 minute.
Add cider, honey, vanilla extract, orange rinds and lemon rinds to the pot and bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and strain to remove all of the spices and rinds. Discard solids.
You can serve it just like this, or you can add the applejack brandy to make it for the adults only.
I like serving the hot cider in a cinnamon-brown sugar rimmed glass. If you’d like to do this, add 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to a plate. Mix to combine. Using a lemon wedge, rim the glass with lemon juice. Place the rim of the glass in the sugar mixture to coat.
Pour 1 oz applejack brandy (if using) into the glass and fill with hot cider.
Ah. Hot cider is just perfect on cold, wet days. It warms you from the inside out and makes the weather seem not all that bad.
I loved the spices in this recipe. It added a depth of flavor to the cider not found in your store bought options.
This recipe takes less than a half hour and can be made ahead. After straining, keep warm on the stove until ready to serve… perfect for Halloween parties!