"The problem with most cider drinks is that they just hang around on a hot plate all day," says Vandaag's Martim Smith-Mattsson, "so the flavors get too concentrated." Here, he allows Laird's Bonded Applejack "to do most of the work," delivering powerful apple flavor and the fruit's crisp acidity without that all-too-familiar boiled-down sweetness.
His cider is subtly spiced with cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and a bare floral hint of lavender (recipe included). Orange peels and orange curacao add complementary citrus flavors without things getting too juiced up.
Adjust spices to your liking, but pay particular attention to quantity and steeping time if you use lavender; it can easily turn bitter or overly floral.
- For mulled cider
- 1 gallon apple cider
- 60 grams dried lavender
- 10 sticks cinnamon
- 5 lemons, halved
- 4 cups honey
- 60 grams whole cardamom pods
- 12 one-inch pieces fresh ginger root, peeled
- Peels of 5 oranges
- 15 grams whole cloves
- 5 dashes Angostura bitters
- For each drink
- 4 ounces hot mulled cider
- 1/2 ounce orange curacao
- 1 ounce Laird's Bonded Applejack
In a large pot, simmer cider with lavender, cinnamon, lemons, honey, cardamom pods, ginger, orange peel, cloves, and bitters over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with plastic wrap. Let steep 8 minutes, then strain.
For each drink, add 4 ounces warmed mulled cider to a mug with orange curacao and applejack. Stir and serve hot.