Today, Friday, November 18, 2016, is National Apple Cider Day and what better way to celebrate than making a homemade batch of apple cider with a little spike of warmth from your favorite spirit. After all, it is Friday!
I absolutely love the Fall season because it gives us more of a reason to stay indoors and prepare some of our homemade favorites. Everything from a homemade roast to homemade pie can have your home smelling like the inside of a Bon Appetit or Pottery Barn catalog. One of my favorite drinks to make during the Fall and Winter season is apple cider. The warmth from the cinnamon, ginger, and star anise really create a scent and taste that you can’t resist.
In celebration of National Apple Cider Day, I’m whipping up a batch of my favorite cider recipe with a little bit of champagne to really oomph this recipe and celebrate the weekend. You may also use your favorite brandy, dark rum, bourbon, or rye, instead. Of course, leave the liquor out of this recipe for a warm, kid-friendly beverage.
For this recipe you will need:
1/2 gallon fresh, unfiltered apple cider
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
4 allspice berries
1 star anise pod
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 cinnamon sticks
2″ slice of peeled, fresh ginger root
Splash of your favorite Champagne
Begin by adding the apple cider, orange zest, lemon zest, cloves, allspice berries, star anise, nutmeg, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and ginger to a large pot. Cover, bring to a simmer, and lower the heat. Allow the flavors of the cider to blend for about 30 minutes. Turn the heat off, let the cider cool, and then place in the fridge to continue cooling, about two hours.
In the meantime, you can prepare the cinnamon/sugar mixture for the rim of the champagne flute.
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp granulated sugar or gold/silver sprinkles
Half lemon, juiced
Apple slices for garnish (optional)
Juice half of a lemon onto a shallow plate. Combine the cinnamon and sugar onto a separate shallow plate. Dip the champagne flute rim into the lemon juice and then into the sugar mixture. Garnish with an apple slice.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, pour the cider into a vessel with a spout so there isn’t any spillage. Then, pour the cider into champagne flutes until it reaches halfway. Pour the champagne to the top of the flute. Smell, sip, feel the warmth of the cider. You’re welcome.
Happy National Apple Cider Day!