Make this autumn warmer with rum for adults, without for kiddies
It’s getting chilly in our part of the world. And the nights are getting longer. Time to warm up with hot apple cider!
This spicy version brings out the best of autumn (and rum helps tame fall’s gloomy chill). But it’s great sans alcohol, too, so the whole family can enjoy.
How about them apples?
Recipe: Spiced Hot Apple Cider with Rum
This drink is easy to make: Just heat apple cider on the stove, add brown sugar and spices, then pour into a mug that you’ve spiked with rum.
How much rum to use? Anywhere from ½ ounce to 1½ ounces, depending on how strong you’d like the drink to be. Or skip the rum entirely and still have a delicious warm beverage.
It’s been a tradition in our household to make this drink on Thanksgiving Day, as a treat before turkey time. But we also enjoy drinking it throughout winter to chase away the gloom. We’ve been drinking it for decades – so long that we’ve forgotten where we got the recipe.
Speaking of which: We use the word “recipe” loosely here. This is definitely a concoction that you should season to taste. And make in whatever quantity you want. So experiment.
Our recipe calls for a quart of apple cider (or apple juice), which will make 4 to 6 servings. But it’s easy enough to pare back on the quantities, or increase them.
Leftover spiced apple cider will keep for a day or two if refrigerated in an airtight container.
- ~1 quart apple cider (or apple juice; see Notes)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar (to taste)
- ~½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ~¼ teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
- 3 to 4 whole cloves
- ½ to 1½ ounces dark rum per serving (to taste; can skip this if you want an alcohol-free beverage)
- garnish of cinnamon stick and/or lemon or orange slice
- Pour the apple cider into a saucepan that holds at least two quarts. Add the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ground allspice (if using), and whole cloves. Bring the cider to a simmer, then let the spices mingle with the cider for 5 minutes or so. Taste, and adjust spices if necessary.
- When ready to serve, add dark rum to each serving mug (adjusting the quantity to your taste). Fill each mug with hot spiced apple cider, add garnish if desired, and serve.
- You can substitute whole allspice berries for ground allspice if you wish.
- A dusting of freshly ground nutmeg would also be a welcome addition to this drink.
- We’ve never made this drink in the microwave, but that would probably work. Just make sure to use a microwave-safe container (such as Pyrex) that’s large enough to keep the cider mixture from boiling over.
- You could also probably make this drink in a slow cooker. Just pour all the ingredients (except rum) into the slow cooker and let the appliance do its magic for several hours. We haven’t tried this, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work.
- What’s the difference between apple cider and apple juice? Well, in some US states (Massachusetts, for example) the law specifies that apple “cider” must be made from raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove pulp or sediment. In these states, the product sold as apple “juice” is generally filtered juice that has been pasteurized.
- In other places, there is no legal difference between the two – the same product might be called “cider” or “juice,” depending on local preference.
- We think this drink tastes best when made with unfiltered cider (the kind you often find in the produce department). But it also tastes pretty good with apple juice. BTW, we made this drink with juice for the photos accompanying this post – mostly because clear juice makes for a better picture. (Besides, clear liquids are harder to photograph than opaque ones, and we enjoy the challenge.)
- You can buy apple cider or juice that has been pre-spiced. We like to spice it ourselves, but to each his own.
- You can also buy spiced rum. We’ve never tasted one that we liked, so we can’t recommend any.
- Speaking of rum, we think this drink tastes best when made with dark rum. But substitute amber rum if you prefer (or if that’s all you have on hand). The flavor won’t be as deep, but it will still be good.
- Our favorite dark rum for this drink is Myers’s, a Jamaican rum. But any good name brand will work.
“Mmm, love this drink,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “And our yearly tradition of imbibing it.”
“Autumn wouldn’t be the same without it,” I said. “And if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, one of these should do the same, no?”
“I don’t think it works quite that way,” said Mrs K R. “Sorry to upset your apple cart.”
Ahh, Mrs K R. The apple of my eye.
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