8 to 10
Adapted from "Cider Hard and Sweet: History, Traditions & Making Your Own" by Ben Watson.
1/2 gallon apple cider
4 to 6 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
6 cardamom pods, crushed
1 whole nutmeg, cracked open
10 to 12 whole cloves
6 allspice berries (optional)
4 to 6 star anise pods (optional)
Zest of 1/2 lemon or 1/2 orange, thinly cut into lengthwise strips
Orange slices for garnish
1 1/2 cups rum or brandy (optional)
1. In a large, nonreactive pot,
place the cider, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, star anise and zest. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, still covered, for 15 minutes.
2. Line a colander
with cheesecloth and strain the cider into another pot, discarding the spices. Heat the cider over very low heat, add the orange slices and serve hot. This makes about 8 cups cider.
For alcoholic cider, stir the rum or brandy into the strained cider and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, add the orange slices and serve hot.
Each of 10 servings: