Here’s why I’m calling this recipe “ultimate”:
1. It works with any brown liquor you have on hand: aged rum, whiskey, brandy, in whatever proportions you like. If you have two bottles of bourbon and brandy, with just a cupful left in each? Use ‘em up. It’s like Thanksgiving leftovers for your cup.
2. You can make and serve this drink without leaving the kitchen. Face it – all your guests are gathered there anyway, right?
3. It perfumes your home with the scent of autumn- spicy, apple-y and amazing.
4. Since this drink pairs perfectly with apple cider doughnuts, you now have an excuse to buy some. You saw them at the greenmarket and wanted them anyway.
Okay, that’s enough rationalizing. Let’s drink!
“Spiked & Spiced” Apple Cider
From Cocktails for a Crowd
Total volume: 52 ounces, or 6 1/2 cups
At home, ladle this warming drink straight from the stove (everyone’s probably gathered in the kitchen anyway, right?) or into a teapot to serve. Alternatively, consider pouring the cider into a heatproof thermos to keep toes warm at a tailgating party.
2 cinnamon sticks
8 whole allspice berries
32 ounces (4 cups) apple cider
16 ounces (2 cups) brandy (whiskey or aged rum may be substituted)
8 Tablespoons (1/2 cup) honey
8 cinnamon sticks, for garnish
Tie together the spices inside a square of cheesecloth and secure with twine, creating a spice sachet.
In a saucepan, stir together apple cider, brandy and honey. Drop in the spice sachet. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and stir again. Discard spice sachet.
Ladle into glass mugs or tea cups and garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick.