- Apple cider (locally sourced, unfiltered and unpasteurized if available—see below)*
- Cinnamon chunks or sticks
- Cloves, whole
- Star anise, whole
- Allspice berries, whole
- Nutmeg (cracked whole, or pinch ground)
- Slices of fresh ginger
- Maple syrup
- Orange or lemon juice
- Orange rind
- Apple slices (fresh or dried)
- Cinnamon sticks
Fill a pot with the apple cider (we like to use at least a quart) and put it on low to medium heat on top of the stove. Select the spices that appeal to you and either wrap them in cheesecloth or put them in a tea ball and add to the cider (cinnamon sticks may be added on their own). If your cider is a bit tart, add a tablespoon or 2 of maple syrup; if it’s a bit too sweet or just needs a note of freshness, add the juice of a lemon or orange.
You don’t want to boil the mixture, just gently bring it to a simmer so that the flavors can infuse into the cider (5 to 10 minutes is usually sufficient). Remove the spices, pour into cups and garnish with the cinnamon stick, orange rind/slices or apple slices. For an especially pretty presentation, stud the apple or orange rind with cloves. Note: The cider mixture may also be cooled and refrigerated for a refreshing cold beverage.
*Local sources for apple cider:
Apple Annies in Willcox, appleannies.com (apple festival in September)
Brown's Orchard in Willcox, youpickapples.com (call ahead, very limited availability this year due to frost)
Garland's Lodge cider (available at Oak Creek Market in Sedona in Late September, oakcreekmarket.com), also see the Sandy's Produce YouTube video on "Making Apple Cider at Garland's Lodge"