Mulled Apple Cider
There is truly nothing I love more than a warm drink enhanced with a sprig of fresh rosemary. I drink my coffee like this almost every morning, and it is the best! I highly recommend it to anyone to try at least once. It has such a lovely woody, holiday-esque taste that makes me happy. A lot of people refer to it as the evergreen herb! I decided to toss it into this recipe for mulled apple cider and was extremely pleased with its fresh and herbal flavor. I think you will like it, too!
I decided that this recipe deserved the title of Colonial Kitchen because cider was one of the only things that colonial Americans drink. Did you know that water was considered a poor choice of hydration at the time? It was actually thought to be unwise to drink for your health, which we all know now was completely ridiculous! Most American emigrants at the time of the 18th century, mainly from the British Isles drank hard cider, or apples that had been fermented in a barrel. I actually read recently that one of the earliest European plants to be planted in New England was an apple tree by settlers sailing over on the Mayflower. The trees were planted by William Blackstone, followed by an import of the first Western Honeybees to help pollinate the apple blossoms. At that time, the main cultivars were Catshead, Foxwhelp, Redstreak, and Costard, which is now extinct. The import of the Western Honeybee started an entire chain of events, and the colonists had no idea that they had the possibility of keeping mason bees in their orchards. I thought that was interesting!
Apple cider was often drunk by the entire family, whether it was made hard or soft, in the 18th century. It was common for most families to have their own personal orchard planted on their homestead. Many of our founding families grew apples and even owned their own cider mills! It was really in the 19th century that we began to lose interest in hard ciders, opting for beer and ales instead, and now ciders are making a comeback. My cider recipe is a "soft" recipe, no alcohol, but I am sure you could liven it up with a little bourbon or brandy.
- 1 quart apple cider (preferably local or homemade)
- 1 cinnamon stick (plus more for your mug)
- fresh strips from one large orange, or from a couple of clementines
- 8 whole cloves
- 5 allspice berries
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary (plus more for your mug)
- In a medium saucepan, heat all of the ingredients, except for the maple syrup, over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the maple syrup, tasting between each tablespoon, to adjust to your own preference.
- Strain and serve warm garnished with a short stick of cinnamon and a sprig of fresh rosemary.
It is one of the easiest things you can make in a jiffy, and it smells so good! I would honestly love to just let it simmer in my house all day long if I wasn't wasting the cider! You can make this up quick before guests arrive; when they walk into your home, it will smell so warm and cozy. Be ready to drink up a warm cup together and enjoy this colder weather! I cannot wait to make this on Thanksgiving and eat appetizers. Why are appetizers always the best part?!
For the entire month of November, I will be sharing a lot more recipes than normal to help inspire some ideas for more plant-based meal ideas! Look out for recipes every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It's going to be a fun month!