Since you’ve finished all your holiday shopping, wrapping and decorating, I think it’s time for a drink. Oh wait, you haven’t started yet? Me neither! I think that calls for a drink. This recipe requires more prep than the average cocktail, but you’ll have a big pot of apple cider that will last until the new year. And if you’re hating Winnipeg’s -40 weather this will definitely warm you up. This recipe is really simple and easily reheated after the fact. I found recipes here and here and altered them a little based on what I had in my cupboards. I added a little too much sugar in the first batch because I didn’t account for all of the natural sugar in the apples. I ended up cutting the cider with some water to make it less syrupy, which worked like a charm.
Spiked Apple Cider
10-12 gala apples (or whatever sweet apple you prefer)
4 cinnamon sticks
4 tbs allspice
2 tbs cloves
1/2 cup sugar (optional)
Spiced whiskey or rum
1. Quarter the apples, you don’t have to worry about the seeds and stems unless you want some spicy apple sauce at the end (not a terrible idea).
2. In a big stockpot, add apples and sugar and fill with enough water to cover the apples.
3. Tie all of the spices in a doubled-up piece of cheesecloth and add it to the pot.
4. Bring to a rolling boil and leave, uncovered, on high for 1 hour. Turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for 2 more hours.
5. Take off heat and let the liquid cool before thoroughly smushing (accurate, but made up word) everything with a potato masher. Using a spoon, push the mixture through a sieve to strain out the stems and pulp.
6. Reheat the cider on the stove or in the microwave. Add 1 1/2 ounces of whisky or rum to a mug and top with hot apple cider. Garnish with an orange peel.