Cider? I Hardly Knew Her!
With all jokes aside, cider is one of the definitive warm autumn drinks that falls among all-time greats like hot cocoa and pumpkin spice… anything. It’s also not caffeinated, so it’s a great evening beverage that won’t interfere with a good night’s sleep if you have one before bedtime. Cider is also somewhat unappreciated in recent years because most pumpkin spice latte enthusiasts assume there’s no difference between cider and apple juice – and apple juice is rather bland. Cider is much richer, though, and doesn’t undergo the processing that apple juice does, so its flavor is robust and inviting. However, that’s not to say that it can’t benefit from a little kick. We’ve been looking for a recipe that carries the essence of fall, and everyone in our office seems to agree that allrecipes.com has the easiest and best-tasting spiced cider recipe that embodies the savory cinnamon and allspice notes we all associate with the season of wither.
- 6 cups apple cider
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- 6 whole allspice berries
- 1 stripped orange peel
- 1 stripped lemon peel
- Pour the apple cider and maple syrup into a large saucepan.
- Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, orange peel and lemon peel in the center of a washed square of cheesecloth (if cheesecloth isn’t available, a tea strainer will also do), then fold up the sides of the cheesecloth to enclose the bundle, and tie it up with a length of kitchen string. Drop the spice bundle into the cider mixture.
- Place the saucepan over moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cider is very hot but not boiling.
- Remove the cider from the heat and discard the spice bundle. Ladle the cider into big cups or mugs, adding a fresh cinnamon stick to each serving if desired. Enjoy!
Curb Your Caffeine
The best part about this recipe is that it’s a warm beverage that isn’t one of the “big three” of popular beverages: coffee, tea, or chocolate. All three of these things are naturally caffeinated and must be decaffeinated through processing if you don’t want bedtime jitters keeping you up all night. Apples? You can eat them all day and all night without disturbing any potential sweet dreams. If anything, there are numerous remedies that cite warm apple cider vinegar and honey as a cure for insomnia. While that sounds sort of gross to me, personally, apple cider with spices (and a dash of rum after hours) suits me just fine. Cheers!