A good thing happened this weekend when I went to another apartment for dinner. Six good friends were gathered in the kitchen (including my roommate). Upon my arrival everyone briefly stopped and smiled as if they had been waiting for me to walk through the door. It gave me a feeling I wish upon everyone, all the time.
If you like cider, I’m hoping this recipe will be that feeling in drinkable form. The six main ingredients greet you up front and stick with you throughout in a heady, warmifying way.
I don’t recommend letting them steep quite as long as I did, or they may also throttle you to death.
Ingredients (Verbatim from Elise’s Simply Recipes edition, except for the addition of chilis and deletion of nutmeg)
- 1/2 gallon apple cider
- 15 cloves
- 15 allspice berries
- 7 cardamom pods*
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 medium orange, sliced
- 2-3 thai chilis (optional. They didn’t make it too hot)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
In a large pot, bring the cider to a boil (or use a crock pot on high, as I did). Reduce to a simmer, and then add all of the ingredients and mix with a spoon. Cover, and let simmer for at least 15 minutes. Sample every 10 minutes after that until the body of the cider gets more full (I know, super descriptive). When the flavor is to your liking, either strain the cider through a sieve or use a sieve to take out the ingredients. Eat the orange slices, they’re fantastic! I asked Elise how well this cider would store in the fridge, and she said that the cider would ferment (read: auto-carbonate) before it went bad.
I ended up leaving the spices in the cider for an hour or more. The flavor was super complex but kind of overwhelming–I could only drink a little at a time.
*Unsure as to where you will find cardamom pods? The Food Co-Op on Euclid Ave. sells spices wholesale, and the turnover rate is high enough that you’ll be getting fresher stuff. You can find whole and powdered cardamom there in any amount (you can even go and buy literally 7 cardamom pods). You can also get the cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, and cloves there in the amount you need–no one needs extra clutter or, worse still, stale spices.
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