Hot Apple Cider

Hot drinks are a necessity when you grown up in the north.  Something to warm your bones and thaw out the inside of your nose when the weather dips to less than 30 degrees below zero.  Some steaming hot chocolate is usually at the top of my list of chosen drinks.  But some hot apple cider has a special place in my heart, and the smell of it heating on the stove makes the whole house smell so comforting, it is a definite cure for what ails you.This Spiced Hot Apple Cider from Brittany's Pantry is simple and classic! I know I say this a lot, but please treat this recipe like a method.  Drinks like this are designed to be suited to your own taste so please see these ingredients as a springboard for whatever floats your boat.  And please please please use apple cider, not apple juice to make this.  When it comes to flavor, there is no comparison.  Well, actually, there is a comparison.  Apple juice is just that-juice.  The apples are squeezed and the juice runs out and voila!  Apple juice.  Apple cider is actually the whole apple, peel and all, pulverized to make a kind of chunky soup and then the whole thing is strained.  That is why apple cider is cloudy!  There is a fine sediment in it of peel and pulp.  So actually, apple cider has a higher nutritional content, including fiber, of which the majority in an apple is found in the peel.  Simply Apple is the only kind of apple juice or cider that we buy any more.  The flavor is consistently fantastic and it isn’t so tart that you can’t drink it on its own.  Of course, a little doctoring is yummy too.  Hence, todays recipe.

One Year Ago: Apple Crisp

Hot Apple Cider
Apple cider usually comes in quart, half gallon, or gallon jugs.  Adjust the ingredients based on how much cider you are making!

half gallon of good apple cider (maybe from your local orchard?)
1/2 c brown sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp of WHOLE cloves

Heat all ingredients in a large sauce pan over low heat until sugar dissolves and it all is steaming.  Add more sugar if needed!  Enjoy!
Note:  There are so many different ways to change this.  Use honey or pure maple syrup instead of brown sugar, but taste as you go.  The level of sweetness you prefer and what you cider may need is different depending on what you use.  You can use ground cinnamon instead, but add a bit at a time to figure our how much you want.  Adding the peel of an orange (just the peel-no white pith) gives great flavor, or even a shot of orange juice if you want.  And nothing was ever harmed by adding a glug of jarred carmel sauce to it.  Experiment and see what you like!  Also, feel free to use the crock pot if you are serving a crowd and are low on stove top space.