- 1 gallon apple juice cranberry is pretty yummy too
- 5 cinnamon sticks*
- 9 whole cloves
- 9 whole allspice
- cheesecloth optional
First, you need to make a spice packet. To do this, unroll your cheesecloth so that it lays flat. It should still be folded into 3-4 layers. Cut off a rectangle big enough to wrap around your cinnamon sticks. Also, cut a 1 to 1 1/2 inch strip to use as a tie. Place spices into the center of cheesecloth and wrap in to a bundle. Tie strip securely around packet. Place spice packet on the bottom of a large soup kettle. Pour juice over packet into kettle. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about half an hour or until cider is spiced to taste. Remove spice packet. Ladle into mugs and enjoy! If you have any leftovers, let them cool completely and use a funnel to pour cider back into your original juice container. Store in refrigerator and microwave by the mug as needed.
I have also used my crock pot to serve this cider. You can either make as directed above and pour it into a crock pot, set it to warm or low, and keep a ladle and some mugs handy for serving or you can place the spice packet into the crock pot, pour your juice over the top and heat until spiced to taste, remove the spice packet, turn to warm or low and enjoy!
For a Caramel Apple Cider place a caramel into the bottom of your mug, pour your hot cider on top, and stir to melt or add a teaspoon of caramel ice cream topping (I love Mrs. Richardson's Butterscotch Caramel). Yummy!
If you purchase cinnamon sticks from the baking isle in glass jars or metal tins, you will need 5 cinnamon sticks. However, you can also find bags of cinnamon sticks in the ethnic cooking section. These cinnamon sticks are ginormous and way way cheaper so I have started using them! If you do use the sticks that come in the bag, I find that using three works perfectly. Since they are so big, 5 makes it a little too strong. Also, if you don't want to mess around with making a spice packet, you don't have to - you can let your spices float around on the bottom and either strain it, or carefully ladle around them. You just have to make sure you don't leave any spices floating in the bottom of someone's mug because you don't want anyone to choke!