This week’s Hit List is a nice mix of apple cider goodies that I’ve handpicked from around the ‘net, plenty of flavor variations to try.
I’ve listed the recipes first (including a sample of ingredients) then a few resources at the bottom that give instructions for brewing it from scratch.
A couple are made with fresh apples (to be served immediately), while others are for mulling ready-made cider or juice with various spices.
If you enjoy sipping this on chilly Fall and Winter evenings, this is a handy list for you to bookmark. Enjoy!
- Vanilla Lemon : (Serves 6 to 8) Includes brandy (optional); cinnamon sticks; star anise; peppercorns; nutmeg; cloves; cardamom pods; lemon; honey; vanilla bean. The smell of vanilla lemon will make your head spin. It is Christmas in a cup and it’s absolutely delicious. From Dragon’s Kitchen.
- Warm Vanilla (spiked) : (Serves 6) Bourbon; brown sugar; whole nutmeg seeds; vanilla bean; whipped cream. Warm, deep with flavor and a great fall feel. From Loves To Eat.
- Mulled : (Serves 4 to 6) Cinnamon sticks; whole cloves; star anise; allspice berries; orange zest. Quote from the site: I looked up a few recipes and they were all basically the same. But the first one I made, from Ina Garten, was too sweet and not spicy enough. The next time, I eliminated all of the orange juice and just added the peel without the juice. Dave and I agreed that it was still two orangey, so I cut down the amount of peel even more. I also increased all of the spices, plus added one that wasn’t in the original – allspice, which was perfect. From The Way The Cookie Crumbles.
- With Cranberry Juice : (8 to 12 Servings) Unsweetened juice; cranberry juice; whole nutmeg; sugar; whole cardamom pods; whole cloves; whole allspice; cinnamon sticks; orange or lemon zest (optional); vanilla bean (optional). Cranberry juice adds a seasonal touch to this spicy drink. Serve in half-pint Mason jars, topped with a slice of dried apple or a thin slice of clementine, and furnish a cinnamon stick for stirring and added spice. Spices can be brewed loose (then strained for serving) in the pot that warms the juice; or gather the crushed spices into an extra-large tea ball and immerse it in the warming brew, removing it before serving. From The Washington Post.
- Spiced : (Yields approx. 8 cups) Orange; cinnamon sticks; ground allspice; cloves; fresh ginger; brown sugar; optional spiced Rum. This one’s so simple to make yet so good to drink. And for a grown up version, pour a shot of spiced rum for a delightful warm Fall type cocktail. From Savory Sweet Life.
- Caramel : (Yields about 8 cups) Includes orange juice; orange; cloves; cinnamon sticks; ground allspice; jarred caramel sauce (optional: caramel flavored syrup); sweetened whipped cream. This is a relatively small batch with measurements that are easily doubled. From Our Best Bites.
- With Cran : (6 to 8 Servings) Whole cloves; navel orange; lemon; cranberry juice; brown sugar; cinnamon sticks. This fills the house with warm Christmas aromas as it simmers. From Taste of Home.
- With Pomegranate : (6 Servings) Cinnamon sticks; whole cloves; whole allspice; fresh gingerroot; 100% pomegranate juice; liquid honey. This spiced drink is not only a delicious starter but also a boost of nutrition. Pomegranates are loaded with vitamins B and C, potassium, folic acid and iron and are high in antioxidants, which may play a role in the prevention of cancer and heart disease. From Canadian Living.
- Tea & Wassail : (22 servings) Freshly brewed tea; cranberry juice; juice; orange juice; sugar; lemon juice; stick cinnamon; whole cloves. Optional slowcooker instructions available too. From Better Homes And Gardens.
- Mulled : (5 cups) Look at the fragrant ingredients that make this so aromatic: cinnamon, cloves, star anise, bay leaves, ginger and lemongrass. Mmm, it’s practically a cure for a cold in itself. Feel free to spike it if you like! From Under The High Chair.
- With Buttered Bourbon : (4 Servings) Water; brown sugar; whole cloves; cinnamon stick; unsalted butter; bourbon; fresh lemon juice; ground nutmeg. Garnish this warming drink with lemon slices and a cinnamon stick. From Epicurious.
- With Wine : (Serves 8) Dry white wine; honey; quince; rosemary sprig; cinnamon sticks; cloves; star anise; lemon zest. From Food & Wine.
- Spiced : (20 Servings) Includes orange juice; maple syrup; orange extract; lemon extract; cinnamon sticks; whole cloves; whole allspice. Next time you’re entertaining, stir up a batch of this nicely spiced drink. From Taste of Home.
- Warm Winter Spices, Cayenne & Hibiscus : (Yields approx. 8 cups) Whole nutmeg; whole cloves; whole allspice; whole star anise; cardamom pods; 2 Mexican (canela) cinnamon sticks; dried hibiscus flowers; cayenne chile flakes; dark brown sugar; orange zest; optional: 1 ounce Calvados, Armagnac, Cognac, or Applejack per 8-ounce serving. From The Luna Cafe.
- With Pie Spices : (Serves 6) Brown sugar; cinnamon sticks; ground allspice; ground ginger; ground cloves; grated nutmeg; salt; Calvados, or other brandy (optional). Season with the same spices you would use in a pie-cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg-then heat it up. If you’d like, pour in brandy for adults. Add a cinnamon stick to each mug for stirring. From Martha Stewart.
- Sweet : (Yields 1 liter) Known in the U.S. and Canada as “sweet cider” because it’s not fermented like its “hard” cousin, this quintessential cool-weather sipper differs from standard grocery-store juice; the fresh crushed pulp and skins give it a unique tartness and an added texture. Relatively easy to whip up at home. From Imbibe Magazine.
- Old Fashioned : (approx. 8 servings) Small orange; brown sugar; cinnamon sticks; nutmeg; whole cloves; water. It is incredibly easy with almost no prep work: just simmer fruit with your favorite spices, then strain and serve hot and steaming. From Chaos In The Kitchen.
Brewing From Scratch
- Step-by-Step : Brewing from nonalcoholic, or “sweet” cider is a simple process, and the inebriating end product is as delicious as it is discombobulating. Here are the steps you’ll follow. From Mother Earth News.
- Home Brew from Scratch : This Instructable will explain the process for producing all natural, organic, 100% hand made hard cider, an alcoholic beverage made through fermentation. From Instructables.
Bonus: Cranberry : This looks like a good one to try. Made with Cranberries, Oranges, Lemons, Cloves and more. From Cut Out & Keep.
Also check out this page  for a nice assortment of holiday beverages.