Why It Works
- Use unfiltered cider for the best flavor.
- A mix of whole spices and fruit infuse the cider.
- Applejack adds a boozy kick.
When we begin to hide against the brusque snap of the weather, there is no better remedy than a hot drink that will slowly begin to bring a tingling sensation to the fingertips and then wash us over completely with warmth. Fresh apple cider, ruddy and cloudy, is best served heated with additional fire added with spices and a splash of spirits. In this case, applejack does the trick—we recommend Laird's from New Jersey for mixing in.
This recipe comes from my 2013 book, Winter Cocktails. Tart apple bits and dried cranberries, along with clementine slices, enhance this classic. In addition to the expected cloves and allspice, this hot cider includes black peppercorns' subtle burn and coriander's citrus notes. For an extra treat, top this cider with freshly whipped cream.
Looking for more apple-cider spiked cocktails? I have a fruity twist on a traditional boulevardier, an apple cider champagne cocktail, a boozy cider drink with a ginger and pepper kick, and a salty maple buttered rum.
- 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 4 1/2 cups apple cider (see note)
- Rind and 1/4 cup juice from 1 large orange
- 8 ounces applejack
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 clementine or small orange, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
Place allspice, peppercorns, cloves, coriander, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in apple cider, orange rind and juice, and applejack and bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to lowest setting and allow cider to simmer for 15 minutes.
Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Return cider to saucepan and add apple pieces, clementine slices, and cranberries. Simmer medium-low heat until apples are fork tender but still retain their shape and cranberries are plump, about 10 minutes. Serve.
For the best results, use unfiltered fresh cider from your local orchard or farmers' market (or the refrigerated case at your grocery store).