One of my absolute favorite things about the fall/winter season is snuggling up with a delicious warm drink under a cozy blanket and my favorite book or magazine. Today, I found these great ideas for creating your own hot cider bar...perfect for when you're having company over during the holidays! I can't wait to try it....
First – you have to start off with a yummy hot apple cider. You can use the store bought cider that comes in the jugs (you can find in the refrigerated section of the produce department) or if you have some extra time on your hands you can make it from scratch. Keep the cider warm by using a hot beverage dispenser or a crock pot works nicely as well.
Hot Apple Cider
6 cups apple cider
1/4 cup real maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, cut into fourths
1 lemon, cut into fourths
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
In a large sauce pan, combine the apple cider with the maple syrup.
Stick the whole cloves into 1/4 of the orange through the peel. The add cinnamon sticks along with the lemon and orange pieces to the cider.
Next add the allspice berries. You can place them in a small piece of cheese cloth for easy removal. I just add them and remove them with a spoon after the cider is headed. They mainly stay floating on the top of the cider anyway.
Heat cider over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the cinnamon sticks, lemon and orange pieces, and the allspice berries. Serve cider in mugs. Makes 6 one cup servings.
Second – you need some flavored syrups like Torani and regular old amaple syrup. Pick flavors that would go well with the cider like pumpkin spice, creme caramel, or white.
Third – get some ice cream. I recommend going for a higher quality ice cream. You will only need a small scoop for each cup. Again pick ice cream flavors that will pair well the cider like dulce de leche, rum raisin, or butter pecan.
Fourth – you need some whipped cream. Offer several different flavors like
vanilla, maple, and cinnamon.
Fifth – you need those finishing touches like cinnamon sticks, apple slices and caramel ice cream topping to drizzle over the cream. Now you have a fancy schmancy gourmet hot apple cider bar.
What's your favorite beverage you like to make this time of year? I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments....and I'm ALWAYS looking for new recipes to share!