The holidays have officially passed, but there’s no need to retire the seasonal cocktails just yet because we have a feeling this chilly weather is going to stick around for a while. There’s something comforting about a warm drink after a cold, gloomy day. It tastes good, sure, but it also feels good. We like to think a hot winter drink is the cure for the post-holiday blues, so we wanted to share our Cranberry Apple Cider. Sweet, tart, spicy and fragrant, this is tried-and-true recipe is a perfect crowd-pleaser for parties, but is also great for a low-key night at home.
Cranberry Apple Cider
2 gallons apple cider
3 quarts cranberry juice
32 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
Zest of 2 oranges
Juice of 8 oranges (peel rind before juicing and set aside for garnish)
4 cups runny honey (2 cups cranberry honey and 2 cups hot water)
2 T light brown sugar
6 cinnamon sticks, broken
10 allspice berries, crushed
1/2 of whole nutmeg, crushed
2 star anise
Thumb size piece of fresh ginger
1 cup Applejack Brandy
1.5 oz. Rye Whiskey
½ oz. Campari
½ oz. Sweet Vermouth
1. In a large stock pot, toast cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, anise and cloves until very aromatic.
2. Add orange zest and deglaze with brandy. Allow alcohol to burn off. If you wish to ignite the booze do so carefully (this is the best way to release the oils in the zest.)
3. Add cranberry juice, cranberries, ginger and orange juice. Cook until the mixture turns into a loose compote.
4. Add honey and brown sugar and cook for 5 minutes.
5. Add apple cider. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a rapid simmer. Allow to cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
6. Fine mesh strain into a large container.
7. Add Whiskey, Campari and Sweet Vermouth directly into drinking glass, and serve hot.