During the cool fall and cold winter seasons, there is nothing better than a warm drink next to the fire with your friends and family. Hot spiced cider is a perfect warm drink for this time of year and especially during a holiday celebration, such as a harvest, Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas — this drink is suitable for any of these holidays or just a get-together with friends or family.
There are never ending recipes for hot spiced cider all across the Internet but not one single recipe in itself really interested me. So, as usual, I MacGyver-ed several recipes into one and changed a few things. I think my recipe is simple but hits the mark almost exactly where I want it. It tastes great and others agree but feel free to modify it to your preferences.
Most recipes I found required about half a dozen different spices with quite a bit of measuring going on. Those are a bit too complicated for my liking.
I knew I had pumpkin pie spice in the kitchen for pumpkin pies in the past and I thought I would see if the ingredients were those I required for this drink. It turned out that the spices were exactly what I was looking for with the addition of ginger and I figured its addition would taste good as well. This is McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice and it contains cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice all in one container, making it really easy to measure because there is only one container instead of four. I’m sure there are other brands of Pumpkin Pie Spice available at grocery stores or supermarkets everywhere but I prefer McCormick.
The one spice missing from the pumpkin pie spice is the cloves. Most recipes call for whole cloves which means that they need to be strained before drinking or you will get an extra strength dose of cloves. You can buy ground cloves that are more potent and require less than whole cloves but is nice because it doesn’t need to be strained.
Normally I wouldn’t consider these spices mixed with oranges in apple cider but it really just makes sense due to these fruits all being fruits that I think of when I think of harvest fruits. The oranges provide a nice fruity flavor on top of the spices and it gets stronger the longer you leave the oranges in the cider, so you can add as much of the orange flavor as you want.
Finally, be sure to use actual apple cider and not apple juice because they taste almost entirely different. Apple juice contains a very small percentage of actual apple juice (about 10%) and has nowhere near the flavor of 100% apple cider, which is darker and naturally sweet. Make sure that it is pasteurized apple cider to destroy any kind of bacteria present.
Some recipes tell us to use coffee pots with filters to prepare the spiced cider but I think this is too much of a hassle plus the coffee pot might make coffee taste like the spices for the next few pots. It is simpler to just use a stovetop pot and strain the few pieces of cloves out and that is how I made it.
I think that apple cider is naturally sweet and requires no additional sweeteners. However, if you like it sweeter, you can add a few tablespoons of brown sugar. I really don’t think you will need this but it’s there if you do.
1 quart (4 cups) apple cider
1 large orange, quartered with peel on
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pour all ingredients into a pot (2 quart size should work fine) on medium heat and bring to a boil. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Strain the big pieces (orange and cloves) out of the cider. You can save the oranges for each serving as garnish or to add more orange flavor to the cider.
Pour into glasses and serve warm.
Yields: 8 servings
If you like this drink, you might be interested in some of my other articles, such as Harry Potter: Top 10 Butterbeer Recipes and Harry Potter: Top 5 Pumpkin Juice Recipes.