It’s that time of year…the leaves are (almost) gone, the air is crisp and I’m finding myself craving all things warm and comforting. That means soups, stews and of course all the hot beverages I can get my hands on. Tea and lattes are fine and all, but sometimes it’s nice to indulge in something a little… stronger. If you’re looking for a warming, comforting adult beverage to make this chilly season, give this slow cooker spiked cider a try and watch all your friends turn up at your doorstep just because they “were in the neighborhood”.

Servings: about 16

Ingredients

  • 4 liters of apple cider or cloudy apple juice
  • 1 orange
  • A 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 3 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves
  • 5 star anise pods
  • 5 whole cardamom pods
  • 1 1/2 cups bourbon, brandy, or dark rum
  • Cinnamon sticks for garnish

Equipment

  • Slow cooker
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filters
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen twine

Method

  • Pour the cider or apple juice into a 5-quart or larger slow cooker.
  • Cut the orange into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and cut the ginger into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Add both to the slow cooker.
  • Place the cloves, star anise pods and cardamom in a double layer of cheesecloth or coffee filter, gather it up into a bundle, and tie closed with kitchen twine. Add to the slow cooker along with the cinnamon sticks.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for about 4 hours on low. Add the bourbon, brandy, or rum and stir to combine. Let sit on warm for 10 minutes for the flavors to meld. Keep warm and serve in glasses garnished with a cinnamon stick.
Angela Nightingale

If you want to know the best cupcake shop in any major city in America, just ask Angela. This girl knows her sweets, and she isn't shy about letting you know that your german chocolate cake needs more chocolate. If you want to find Angela on any given day, she's probably looking up reviews to decide where to grab lunch, or in her downtime, binge-watching the latest 'it-series' on Netflix.

Potlucks are a year-round thing. Family gatherings, office luncheons, community events and of course - the holiday season.
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