Ready or not here comes the holiday season. Walk into any retail store and the christmas carols are playing from the speakers. Each night another bush or tree pops up in someone’s yard aglow with lights and yes, that 24-hour holiday music station is back on the radio. My first instinct is to rebel, fight back, and ignore the holiday spirit. But seconds later I’m pulling out Michael Buble’s Christmas CD and warming up to the idea of the holidays.
As someone very wise once told me, “embrace it” because what other option do you have? Well, the option to complain about the fact that it’s too early for the holidays and risk being called a Grinch is certainly available, I think the embracement tactic is a bit more appealing. Also, I’ve always been one for planning ahead so a jump start on holiday crafting and shopping sounds like a great idea!
With the season of giving officially underway, I thought I would break out my craft basket and make something for a few friends that would send them into the kitchen. For me, the holidays are reminiscent of picturesque weather, traditions, cooking, and most importantly family and friends. While I realize everyone is not a whiz in the kitchen I decided to make a gift for creating a warm festive drink, mulled cider (with and without rum). Back in October I picked up these adorable little “Be Thankful” bags with absolutely no idea what I would fill them with.
It has taken me about a month, but I finally was inspired by a recipe I had made up for a get together I hosted back in September. The recipe calls for a few different spices that we usually have on hand in the cabinet. However, I wanted to make this a bit more special so I headed down to the Spice & Tea Exchange to pick up some ground spices.
With the help of my label maker, I made up a spice mix for the cider and a cinnamon sugar packet for rimming the glasses. I also typed up a recipe card. With just a few additional items – that wouldn’t fit in the bag – your house can be filled with the warmth and spice of mulled cider. Fresh oranges, honey and the apple cider of course are key. The rum is optional but highly recommended.
So while my profession encourages everyone to enjoy all things in moderation this recipe may have you pouring yourself a second glass. Cheers!
Makes 2 quarts
2 quarts apple cider
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
zest of 1 orange
6 whole cloves
1 cup spiced Rum
Cinnamon & sugar for rimming glasses
Cinnamon sticks for swizzle sticks
Put apple cider, spices, and rum in a stockpot and heat to simmer over medium-high heat. Do not let boil. Dampen the rims of drinking glasses and dip in cinnamon sugar and serve cider in the glasses. Use a cinnamon stick as a swizzle stick and enjoy!
Note, this recipe can easily be halved or doubled to accompany your guest list.