19 November 2011

Hot Spiced (and sometimes spiked) Cider

Apple cider is the epitome of fall drinks. Heat it up and add spices and you've got a nice party drink. Top it off with sweet wine and you've got a real winner!
I was making this for a crowd, but you can easily divide or multiply the recipe to suit how many people will be drinking it. Also, you can either heat it up in a saucepan (bring to a simmer, let it simmer about an hour to allow the spices to infuse the liquid) or use the slow cooker. The longer it's on the heat, the more intense the spices get. Adding more cider will keep it balanced.

Hot Ginger and Spice Apple Cider
adapted from Weight Watchers via the girl with the little black cat

8 C apple cider*
2" fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into discs
4 cinnamon sticks
12-16 whole cloves
peel of 2 lemons -- remove only the peel (not the white pith) with a veggie peeler
4 Tbsp brown sugar
sweet red wine** (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Heat on high until hot, stirring every once in a while. Turn down to low and keep it hot through your party.

* Note: Buy a gallon of cider. I started with 8 C so it fit in my slow cooker and kept adding at about the halfway point until we finished it all.

** Alcoholic version note: I'd fill the cup about 2/3 of the way with the cider then top off with the sweet red wine. My wine of choice was Lakeside Red by Lake Anna Winery, a Virginia vineyard. I actually liked it better with the sweet wine because it mellowed and rounded out the spiced cider.

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