I know I’m probably in the minority here, but I’m not really a fan of spiced or mulled cider. I always feel like the spices overwhelm me and punch me in the face. No one likes a punch in the face. Especially when you’re settling into a cozy chair, fingers wrapped around a warm mug, breathing in the steam and expecting that first sip to warm your heart. But this here – this is a cider I can get behind, and I think you will too. It starts with good apple cider. Here we just used Trader Joe’s unfiltered apple juice, which was great, but my favorite is when there’s a jug of fresh cider from the farmer’s market. Then it adds some vanilla and nutmeg, giving off a perfectly subtle familiar warmth. And finally, some bourbon to finish it off. Perfection!
In spite of everything going on in the world, in spite of whatever might be going on in our lives, I wish you a moment or two like mine tonight: to sit in front of a fire with snow falling out the window. To take a deep breath. To be grateful. Maybe this will help.
Warm Vanilla Cider
Adapted from here marthastewart.com/warm-vanilla-cider
8 cups apple cider
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 whole nutmeg seeds
1 – 1½ vanilla beans, split and scraped (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
8(ish) oz bourbon
In a saucepan combine the apple cider, brown sugar, whole nutmeg seeds, and vanilla bean (both seeds and pods). Let it simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Divide the bourbon among 8 mugs, fill them with warm cider (discard the nutmeg seeds and vanilla bean pods), and enjoy!