Since winter is still in full swing I figured now would be the perfect time to share one of my most favourite cold weather creation! I first had homemade apple cider at Kristine's xmas party a few years back, and then later that same year at my staff party. Jim and I attempted to recreate the delicious warm apple spice loveliness later that winter and although it was drinkable....it was far from perfection. Lindsay reintroduced me to the crock pot wonder this December and since then I've been altering the ingredients until I had the perfect mix! This picture may not be the most flattering, but trust me, this crock pot apple cider is extra delish to the very last drop:
Onto the recipe!
- 2.84 L (96 oz) jug of Santa Cruz Organic Apple Juice. (I've tried other AJs but the pulpy organic stuff is the best)
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 or 2 oranges (1 large or 2 smaller depending on what you have available)
- 1 tbsp whole allspice
- 1 tbsp whole cloves
- 1 tbsp full leaf chai tea
- 2 or 3 pieces of whole star anise
- 2 or 3 pieces of cardamon
- a sprinkling of ground nutmeg
Pour the apple juice into the crock pot. Add in cinnamon sticks, and sliced orange. Put the whole allspice, cloves, chai tea, star anise, and cardamon in tea satchels and rest them on the side of the crock pot. Add a sprinkling of ground nutmeg over the concoction and stir. Make sure you don't let the large spices fall out of the tea bag(s) or they'll be difficult to remove later. Set on medium low for 4 hours and let steep. After 1 hour remove the orange slices (or they will get bitter). At the 2 hour mark I usually taste a sampling of it and if it is spicy enough for my liking I remove the tea bags of mulling spices and cinnamon sticks (or leave in if it needs a bit more spice). Because I don't like my cider too sweet (and my crock pot only just fits the jug of AJ), I like to dilute my cups of cider with some hot water. Then drink and enjoy!
If you have lots of cider left over (which I usually do) I pour boiling water in the glass AJ jug to rinse it out and then pour the remaining cider in there. Once it cools down you can stick it in the fridge and have some microwave ready cups of deliciousness whenever you please! Hooray!
Well that's it! Sometime I like to add an extra sprinkling of ground cinnamon and cloves to the batch (since I really like both those spices). Nummers! If you're feeling extra jolly you can always spike your cup with a shot of spiced rum and a shot of triple sec (or grand marnier if you're fancy) so some added zing. Jim seemed to be pretty happy with that alcoholic alternative but I prefer the non-boozey version for my poor suppressed immune system.
So what do you think? Do you ever indulge in cider? What recipe do you use?