ALL THE HOLIDAY FLAVOURS IN A CUP
Once a year I enjoy a hot cup of mulled apple cider. For my family, Christmas is not over on the 25th. In Spain, we actually celebrate up until January 6, known as the day of the kings. As a child, it was on this day that we would open our gifts, have a large family dinner and special Spanish treats like roscón de reyes and turrón. Magically I would always receive the slice of cake with the lucky toy in it. It was said to bring good luck for the following year.
I remember being in a tiny apartment in Madrid with my VERY large family all lined up along the floor in sleeping bags, waiting for January 6. Of course I experienced the typical anticipation a child has the day before Christmas.
Then, when I spent Christmas here in Canada, it was just as wonderful but very different. It was just my parents and I, decorating the tree, having a few speciality items and meals together. Very low key.
There are certain smells that still remind me of this time and they are often found in holiday foods and drinks which is why I love this time of year so much: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla and citrus. Baking. Pine. Peppermint.
This is where the apple cider enters into the picture. I only tried apple cider for the first time a few years ago and was never completely sold on it, although, I have yet to turn down a glass. I wanted to make my own and combine the flavours connected to my memories of the holidays. Plus, there is something extra special about having your whole house smell like Christmas. It almost makes the mulled apple cider tastier.
This is a simple, crock-pot recipe that makes approximately 16 cup servings so it is perfect for a large group. The mulled apple cider can stay in the pot, warm for the duration of the evening, if it lasts that long.
Because I don’t like having to pick out spices from my foods or beverages, I first wash an orange and place the cloves into it so that afterwards I can simply pull the orange out.
Next, put the cloves orange, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, vanilla, and juice into the crock-pot.
Heat on low heat for 6 hours so that all the flavours become enhanced. The cider will sweeten as well.
I like to serve mine in clear cups so you can see the golden colour and I also top it with some whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon sugar. A cinnamon stick addition makes a very pretty cup of mulled apple cider.
MULLED APPLE CIDER
1 medium orange
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp nutmeg (ground)
3 tsp vanilla extract
4.11 L unsweetened, natural apple juice (or close to that amount)
1. Put all the spices (including the cloved orange) into the crock-pot.
2. Add the apple juice.
3. Turn the crock-pot to low for 6 hours.
4. Remove the spices from the crock-pot.
Calories 121.21 (add 77 if using whipped cream)
Protein 0 g (1 g if using whipped cream)