I’m afraid I just have a very simple and quick recipe for you today. With a sick little girl I’m not doing much else and a warm drink like this is perfect and comforting on a day like today 🙂
To be completely honest, I don’t remember having hot apple cider when I was younger. In fact I think it was a particularly cold winter day after sledding that my little sister-in-law introduced me to the real stuff. It’s so simple, but so delicious to warm up with a small mug of this. It can be fairly strong stuff, so a small serving is just right, or you can water it down slightly like I like to do for my kids anyways.
You’ll notice the recipe calls for orange skin. Although I have some mandarin oranges in the pictures, use a navel orange for flavoring the cider. When I have navel oranges I use a vegetable peeler to peel them before I remove the white pith and enjoy my orange. Then I leave the skin on a plate on the counter for a day or two until completely dry before storing in an airtight container or bag. Sometimes I even grind it up and store it that way to use in recipes that call for orange zest when I have no fresh oranges. The same amount of dried zest can be used in place of fresh if you’re interested in trying it.
As for apple cider, you want to look for a very minimally processed juice. The juice at the store that is completely clear has so much of the nutrition removed, you’re much better off finding a murky juice, even one that you can still see little bits of apple pulp floating around in. If you live near an apple orchard, that’s your best bet for finding a minimally processed apple juice or cider. At the very least please look for an apple juice with nothing else added, and certainly no extra sugar.
- 4C apple cider
- 2 large cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 – 3/4 tsp whole cloves
- a couple whole allspice berries
- skin of 1/2 a navel orange removed using a vegetable peeler, fresh or dried
- 2-4 tbsp honey, or to taste depending on the sweetness of your original apple cider
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg plus more to sprinkle over top if desired
- water if desired
In a small pot over medium-low heat add the apple cider, all the spices and the orange skin. Slowly bring to a boil and then turn down to a very slow simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and taste before stirring in the honey if needed and let sit to cool slightly if desired. If not, serve immediately, being sure to strain out all the spices and orange peel. I find our local apple cider to be very strong so I always add a little water especially to the kids drinks but do so to taste if needed. Sprinkle a tiny pinch of freshly grated nutmeg over top if desired and serve with a cinnamon stick.
You can also increase the recipe if desired and place in a crockpot on low for 4+ hours if desired. Any leftover hot apple cider can be strained to remove the flavorings and stored in the fridge to be reheated, or even frozen to drink another day or to use in baking.