December 11, 2015

Cocktails for Two: Mulled Apple Cider

Finding time to truly savor the holiday season is easier said than done. We are all busy: work, children, traffic, school, travel... The list goes on, and during the holidays it only gets bigger. We all feel committed to attend every party and function, and try to find the perfect gift while keeping our homes spotless for company. In the end, the holiday season can be taxing. 

The past few holidays have been stressful for my husband and I. It is our busy season with both school and work, making little time to relax by the tree. Luckily, this year has been easier. We've enjoyed nights at home, great dinners, and a less hectic schedule. At the end of a long week, curling up with a warm drink by the tree is all I have the energy for, and luckily my husband feels the same way. So this holiday season take a moment to savor a warm beverage with the ones you love.

Mulled Apple Cider

6 cups apple cider
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
4 cinnamon sticks
5 star anise pods
4 whole cloves
1/2 orange peel
1/2 lemon peel
apple brandy

Combine apple cider, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anise pods, 4 whole cloves, orange peel, and lemon peel in a sauce pan and simmer over medium-low heat. Allow to simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes until flavors have melded.

Remove from heat and strain the mixture through a sieve and return to saucepan. Reheat if necessary. Ladle hot mulled cider into serving two serving glasses, there will be cider left over. Top glasses off with brandy (about 1 ounce), and garnish with remaining cinnamon sticks and star anise.

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