Winter is coming and you know what that means—apples are having their seasonal moment in the spotlight! It’s the perfect season to cozy up with a warm mug of freshly made hot apple cider, don’t you think? The drink even has its National Day – November 18.
Easy hot Apple cider recipe
Apple cider or soft cider is a beverage made from pressed apples, unfiltered. What’s the difference between apple juice and apple cider? Apple cider is typically raw, unfiltered juice that is made by crushing and pressing apples. It retains more of the pulp and sediment. On the other hand, apple juice is usually filtered, and pasteurized, and has a clearer appearance and a lighter taste.
Traditionally, the cider is a non-alcoholic drink, but you can turn it into an alcoholic version. It’s like an autumn and winter drink since everyone around me drinks it when it’s wintertime. Hot Apple Cider makes you warm and packs many health benefits. It contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Some believe it can aid digestion and even boost the immune system.
With so many apple cider options out there, on a chilly day like this, Hot Apple Cider seems like the perfect pick for me. This warm drink pairs perfectly well with my Cheese Quiche. Here is how to make Apple Cider:
Hot Apple Cider
- 8 apples a mix of sweet and tart varieties
- 1 orange sliced
- 1 lemon sliced
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 8 whole cloves
- 1/2 cup brown sugar adjust to taste
- 1 tsp whole allspice
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 8 cups water
- Wash, core, and roughly chop the apples. There’s no need to peel them as the skins will add flavor and color to the cider.
- In a large pot, combine the chopped apples, orange slices, lemon slices, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, brown sugar, allspice, whole cloves, and ground nutmeg.
- Pour 8 cups of water into the pot, ensuring that the ingredients are fully submerged.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for at least about 1 hour or longer. The longer it simmers, the more intense the flavors will be.
- Mash the softened apples with a potato masher to extract maximum flavor. Afterward, strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth into another pot or heat-resistant bowl.
- Reheat the strained cider if needed and serve it warm. Garnish each cup with a cinnamon stick for an extra touch. You can refridgereate your cider to keep it last longer.
Best apple cider variations
From this old-fashioned apple cider recipe, you can make other variations by changing and adding some ingredients.
- Apple Cider Cocktail: Add a splash of your favorite spirits (rum, bourbon, vodka, and whiskey) to your cider.
- Hard cider: To make hard cider, your cider needs to be fermented. To start, cool your hot apple cider and add cider yeast to a sanitized container. Seal with an airlock and let it ferment for 1-2 weeks until bubbles subside. Transfer to a clean vessel for secondary fermentation, then bottle and let it age for a few weeks.
- Mulled Apple Cider: Simmer cider with a blend of spices (cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and nutmeg) and add a splash of brandy or dark rum. Adjust the sweetness with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup if desired.
- Sparkling Apple Cider: Add a splash of sparkling water or club soda to the base cider. For an adult version, you can include a measure of sparkling wine or champagne. Garnish with a twist of lemon or a few fresh berries.
- Apple Cider Margarita: Combine 2 parts cider, 1 part tequila, and 1 part triple sec in a shaker with ice. You can squeeze in the juice of a fresh lime.
- Apple Cider Sangria: Combine cider, white wine, and a splash of brandy in a pitcher. Toss in slices of apples, oranges, and berries, along with a hint of cinnamon. Let it chill for a few hours, and when ready to serve, add some sparkling water.
- Apple Cider Latte: Mix your hot apple cider with a shot of espresso or strong coffee. You can stop here for a coffee version. If you want a latte, froth milk separately and pour it over the cider-coffee blend. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg on top.
- Apple Cider Mojito: For this version, muddle fresh mint leaves with lime juice in a glass. Add ice, pour in apple cider, and stir. Top it off with a splash of rum, and garnish with mint leaves and apple slices.
- Mimosa Apple Cider: Combine equal parts apple cider and sparkling wine or champagne in a glass.
- Apple Cider Punch: Combine cider with sparkling water or ginger ale for effervescence. Add a splash of orange juice for brightness and depth of flavor. Garnish with apple slices, cinnamon sticks, and a few cranberries.
- Apple Cider and Cranberry: Combine equal parts of apple cider and cranberry juice in a pitcher or pot. Stir well to ensure a thorough blend of flavors. Serve over ice for a refreshing autumnal drink.
Whether enjoyed cold, hot, still, or sparkling, apple cider is a versatile beverage that adapts to various preferences and occasions. For me, it’s a perfect drink to sip by a fireplace.