We have a Halloween tradition, which is that I have a steaming pot full of hot spiced apple cider for the kids when they get home from trick-or-treating all cold and frozen (and usually wet here in Western WA.)
Not only does the heat from the drink warm you up, but, like the spices in chai tea, these spices warm you as well. It has a lot less refined sugar and chemicals than the cider packets do. And a lot better flavor!
Even though my grown kids aren’t here for Halloween anymore, I still like to make it for myself. The house smells so good! And parents ask about it every year.
I like to make up packets of ingredients ahead for the cold weather season. I keep a couple half-gallon jugs of cider on the shelf (the stable, pasteurized kind that isn’t going to turn hard) and we’re all set.
If you have a large tea ball — mine is 3″ — it makes a great spice sachet for the cider. Otherwise you are dodging floating allspice berries and cloves when you ladle out a mugful. I think that’s part of the fun. Plus I always forget about the ball until too late ;)
The little glass circle is called a Boil Alert – you place it in the pan right side up. When the liquid is just about to come to a boil it starts clattering in the pan.
I transfer the heated cider to a pre-warmed crock pot sometimes, but I always start it on the stove because it is so much faster.
Any leftover spiced cider can be poured back into the jug after it’s cooled, and refrigerated. Just microwave a mugful in the morning and you hardly need your coffee. (Unless you’re me)
Here’s how to brew up some Hot Spiced Cider for your little goblins!
Heat 2 quarts apple cider with 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp. whole cloves, 1 tsp. whole allspice berries, a scant 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 6″ total of cinnamon sticks. Use a tea ball or spice bag if you wish.
Bring just to a boil, then turn heat down and keep hot for at least 20 minutes, better an hour, before serving. Can stay hot on super-low stove heat or in a crock pot for several hours. Ladle out into mugs, removing any cloves or allspice from mug. Garnish with a cinnamon stick if desired.