What’s better than spiced apple cider on a chilly Autumn day? Spiked apple cider on Thanksgiving! Luckily, you don’t have to choose between the two. This recipe combines the the tangy sweetness of apple cider with Fall-forward spices like cinnamon and cardamom with the family-holiday-coping properties of ale and vodka. Just in time for those heated political debates that everyone is dreading this year after the most contentious election in memory! You’re welcome.
WARNING: this Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider cocktail/punch does NOT taste like alcohol. However, it is deceivingly potent. So, pace yourself and your guests–especially the teetotalers among them. (Every family has one.)
Here’s what you’ll need for the spiked cider:
32 oz mulled cider (see mulling recipe below)
2 12 oz cans amber ale
1 cup Absolute Pear (or other pear-flavored) vodka
the juice from 1 lemon
sprinkle of cinnamon
Mixing the punch…
Because this recipe contains beer, you’ll want to mix the cider in a large decanter with a stopper (rather than a punch bowl, for instance) to preserve the carbonation. Aside from that one note, this recipe is extremely straight-forward. You just mix all of the ingredients and add cinnamon to taste.
If you prefer dryer drinks, add more beer to mellow out the sweetness of the cider. If you feel like the vodka taste is too strong, an extra squeeze of lemon with balance it out.
Then, just set out the mixture with some glasses for all to enjoy.
Mulling apple cider…
Ingredients: bottled apple cider, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamom pods
Note: fresh ginger, anise, and cloves are also great for mulling (although I felt that they weren’t needed for this particular drink). If you want to use them, just be careful with the cloves. They can quickly become overpowering. So, taste your cider often.
In a large pot on a stovetop–or even in a slow cooker–combine all of the ingredients and let them cook at a temperature just shy of boiling for about 20 minutes. If you catch the cider boiling, just turn off the heat and let the liquid cool.
Once at room temperature, strain and funnel the cider back into the bottle and store it in the fridge overnight. The next day, just give it a shake before concocting the punch recipe above.
All jokes aside, Thanksgiving is not just a glutinous holiday. It’s an important one as it forces us to take inventory of all we are thankful for. And, despite tensions in the country at the moment, we can’t loose sight of how lucky we truly are. Whatever blessings you cherish most in this life, acknowledge them this Thanksgiving, express your thanks, help someone out if you can, and never loose hope.