Cozy up with a mug of this warm, spicy beverage to ward off winter’s chill. Whether sharing it with friends and family, or enjoying it alone, it’s sure to bring you lots of cheer!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Calories: 190 per 240 ml | 8 oz serving
Do you have any comforting holiday rituals? Whether it’s going to a movie on Christmas eve, driving around town to look at the bright holiday lights or enjoying hot cocoa in your PJ’s on wintry evenings, there are lots of little things we do this time of year that somehow feel more special and infuse a bit of magic into what would otherwise be a pretty desolate season!
This cider is just the thing for a winter day. It doesn’t require much work* and in my opinion rivals the finest cup of hot chocolate. That’s a pretty lofty claim, but seriously—it has such wonderful apple flavor, lovely spiciness and citrus notes, that you’ll just want to wrap your hands around your warm mug and snuggle into a chunky, warm blanket in front of the fire.
*And what little work there is is fun! Studding an apple with cloves is oddly satisfying…
It also makes a great party beverage! I would recommend doubling the batch for larger gatherings, but no matter the scale, this hot cider is sure to be a hit with your guests. In the winter, I serve it at gaming parties, and it pairs well with a good session of Dungeons & Dragons or Dungeon World.
One of the cooler things this recipe incorporates is whole cloves. Cloves are the flower bud of an Indonesian evergreen tree* and are used in a vast array of cuisines in dishes both savory and spicy. In American cuisine, we mostly use cloves in apple or pumpkin pie spice blends, or to glaze hams. It’s a strong spice, so a little goes a long way. Today you get to joy of practicing what looks like medieval torture on an apple, and let me tell you, it smells divine.
*Called (surprise, surprise) a clove tree in English
If you would prefer to make this kid-friendly (or prefer not to drink alcohol), omit the rum entirely. Even though alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, it doesn’t boil off very well when cooking. If you do decide to go with rum the type is kind of irrelevant. I’ve used dark and spiced rum and haven’t noticed a substantial flavor difference between them.
And a final note on using a crockpot versus stovetop! I’ve made this recipe dozens of times, always on the stovetop. You’ll be able to enjoy hot cider goodness much faster on the stovetop, but if you have time and a crockpot to spare, that makes for an ideal serving vessel! I use this awesome carafe and it keeps the cider piping hot for hours, though it only holds a half batch, so I keep the rest of the cider on the stovetop until the carafe needs a refill.
Thinly slice your orange.
Place it in the bottom of your stewpot or crockpot.
Taking a whole clove, press the pointy end into the top of your apple. Repeat this process with the rest of the teaspoon and a half of cloves, working your way in circles around the apple.
Place your studded apple in the bottom of the stewpot or crockpot. Add your spices and brown sugar.
Add the apple cider and stir to combine. Cover either your crockpot or stewpot. If using a crockpot, cook on high for 2 hours, then turn down to warm. If cooking on the stovetop, cook for 25 minutes at medium-high heat, then turn down to low.
Scoop out the apple and add the rum, stirring to combine. Enjoy!