My first experience with apple cider was memorable, and not in a good way. It smelled amazing! It was a chilly night, so I figured it would warm me up. I purchased a cup. My very first sip was full of some kind of pet dander. Yep, you read that correctly. Pet dander!
Everyone was drinking it, so I thought maybe it was pulp from the apples. I stuck my finger in my cup to investigate. Nope, my apple cider was full of some kind of animal hair. I sat the cup on the table, and I haven’t once again thought of drinking anything from someone’s house I don’t know.
I will admit that my first experience with apple cider scarred me in the worst way. It was at least five years before I decided to try it again. This time, it was from a produce stand. I still checked it for animal hair. To my delightful surprise, this cup of cider was so delicious and warm! It became one of my favorite fall drinks.
One of my favorite varieties is the Honey Crisp Cider from Trader Joe’s. It’s seasonal, of course, and sometimes, if you blink, you will miss it.
But my favorite version of apple cider is homemade!
Somehow we always seem to end up with a variety of apples in our house. So I’ve been trying different recipes. Last month was apple butter, and this month apple cider has made it into my rotation. I love this apple cider recipe served warm with a cinnamon stick and orange slice. You can also turn it into an adult beverage by adding a shot of bourbon and a little fireball. However you enjoy it, you can drink it hot or cold.
- 10-12 apples – your favorite type or a mixture
- 2 oranges, quartered
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon of whole allspice
- 1 whole nutmeg (or 1 teaspoon ground)
- 1 inch of ginger root, peeled
- ½ cup brown sugar
- I like to start by washing my produce. I place the apples and oranges in the sink and cover with water.
- I then add about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and let them soak for about 5 minutes. This removes the wax (if they aren’t organic) and any grime.
- You can quarter the apples if you like. I like to leave them whole.
- Place all ingredients in the crockpot.
- Add enough water to the crockpot to cover. The apples will float a little. Don’t go over the max fill line for your crockpot.
- Give it a stir.
- Cook on high for 5 hours, stirring occasionally.
- When the apples soften, take a spoon or potato masher and smash the apples and oranges. For my crockpot, this was after about 2 hours of cooking.
- Once the cider is done cooking, strain it using a fine mesh strainer or a nut milk bag. Be sure to squeeze as much liquid out as you can. You can save the pulp for smoothies or compost, or just trash it.
- Once you have the liquid separated from the pulp and spices, add ½ cup of brown sugar to the warm liquid and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Pour into your desired (heat-proof) sealed jar or drink dispenser and enjoy! (I typically share my batch, so I divide it into mason jars.)
- Keep refrigerated apple cider for up to 5 days.
I hope you enjoy this apple cider recipe. Enjoy it while visiting a local pumpkin patch to keep it festive!