Hot apple cider reminds me of my childhood going to the orchards in New Jersey. After food shopping with my mom on a fall day, I remember buying the hot beverage with apple cider donuts on the way out. For days like this, I miss living on the East Coast, but the memories encouraged me to learn how to make the drink two years ago when I was craving a bit of home.
Now, I can sip it in the mornings, and maybe add whiskey or spiced rum in the evenings. I do have to say, this is one of few recipes where you might not have all the ingredients like star anise and whole cloves. It’s worth buying though because, with such ingredients, a little goes a long way, thus lasting forever (I’m still on last year’s jar – and I make a TON of cider and mulled wine). I prefer to use red variety, sweeter apples, although to be honest, I bought what was most cost-friendly for this batch.
- Red Apples (I have a 5.7-liter crockpot, and use 3-5 apples; adjust accordingly)
- Whole Cloves (5-6)
- Cinnamon Sticks (1-2)
- Star Anise (1-2)
- Lemon (1/2)
- Maple Syrup
- Brown Sugar
- Cinnamon Powder
- Nutmeg Powder
- Ginger Powder
How to make your cider:
Slice the apples and add to crockpot. Fill 3/4 with water. I start with about 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and add a few teaspoons of honey and/or maple syrup to begin, and add a few dashes of the powder ingredients. As the day continues and the flavor develops, I try it and add according to taste.
I place the crockpot on high until the cider bubbles and then place on low for the rest of the day (about a 6-hour process before drinking). Once ready to serve, I sift out the apples, lemon, and whole ingredients and any remaining pulp.