Tomorrow is a big day for food. I hope you’ve pulled out your favorite stretchy pants for the occasion! Thanksgiving is undoubtedly my favorite holiday, and not just for the autumnal delicacies. In fact, I think I love Thanksgiving in spite of the pumpkin laced gorge fest that seems to symbolize it. As much as I dig the food, the essence of Thanksgiving is important. It’s about being grateful for what (and who) you have. I’m not sure who decided that we are supposed to express thanks by endlessly feeding our loved ones (hm, actually, was it my mom?), but I’ll take it.
Less than 24 hours until game day, I will not try to change your traditions or suggest a new addition to your menu. However, I thought you might enjoy a recipe in the holiday spirit that actually can be pulled together between now and tomorrow afternoon: hot mulled spiked apple cider. You may be thinking, why should I take Thanksgiving advice from the girl who hates turkey* and puts peanut butter in her soup? You’ll have to trust me. This stuff is like magic in a cup. Let it simmer on the stove for a while, and the steam will envelope your kitchen in wafts of warm spices. And, let’s be honest, family time can be stressful, but nothing smoothes out tensions like a cup of warm, boozy juice. Did I say juice? Yes, I did. That means it’s part of a balanced breakfast, too. You’re welcome.
Whatever you do for Thanksgiving, I hope it’s delicious and that you spend it with the ones you love. Don’t forget to take a minute to be grateful for it all.
*Full disclosure: I’m now a turkey convert. Brining is the best thing that ever happened to poultry.
Hot Mulled Cider
Adapted from simplyrecipes.com
I have instructed you to use brandy, but rum or bourbon will also work, as will cinnamon schnapps, according to this guy. I like brandy most. Feel free to mess with the proportions, as it’s hard to really mess this up.
1/2 gallon of fresh, unfiltered apple cider
4 3-inch sticks of cinnamon
15 allspice berries
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
7 pods of cardamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups brandy
1. Pour apple cider into a 3-quart saucepan, cover, turn the heat on medium-high. While cider is heating up, take a vegetable peeler and peel away a couple thick strips of peel from the orange. Press about half of the cloves into the peeled part of the orange. (You can also just quarter the orange and add the slices and cloves separately.) Place orange, orange peel strips, the remaining cloves, and the rest of the ingredients into the sauce pan with the cider. Keep covered and heat the mulled cider mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.
2. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the hot mulled cider away from the orange, cloves, and other spices. If you want, you can add a touch of bourbon, brandy, or rum to spike it up a bit. Serve hot. Add a cinnamon stick to each cup if desired.
Makes 8 cups.