About 15 years ago, my husband and I started a tradition of making a pot of hot apple cider every year at Halloween.
It began as a way of keeping ourselves warm as we greeted little (and seemingly big) trick-or-treaters on what is almost always a rather fresh (read: freezing cold) Canadian evening. Since that time, it has quickly become one of our favourite fall drinks.
Our version of apple cider is nothing like the kind you might find in a store or restaurant. We don't press the apples - in fact, we quite like having chunks of softened spiced apple swimming around in our warm drink and enjoy eating them too! (skin and all). We don't use a cheesecloth wrap for the ground spices either; we pop them right into the pot and it all works out beautifully.
This is a simple, homestyle drink that has its own rustic charm and a complexity of flavour that is out of this world delicious - not to mention how deliriously good your entire home will smell! You might just find yourselves doing a little Fred Flintstone levitation to the kitchen (who's old enough to remember Fred Flintstone's best moves?).
I just happened to have a little bit of delightful pumpkin chai tea left in my cupboard when I was preparing to make this recipe, so I decided to use it in this version of the apple cider.
Homestyle Apple Cider with a Pumpkin Chai Infusion
- 2 Tbsp of your favourite chai tea, I used Pumpkin Chai by DavidsTea
- 4 seasonal apples (I used McIntosh), skin on and sliced into chunky pieces
- 2 cinnamon sticks + more for serving
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (fresh if you have it)
- 1/2 tsp ground clove
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
The chai tea is a delicious addition here but it is not necessary. You can just as easily prepare this apple cider without the tea infusion simply by relying on the fragrant spices to carry the day. If you're making a version without the tea, you may wish to add a little more spice (a touch of cardamom and/or some orange zest) but this is really a matter of taste so play around and see what works best for you.
This recipe will make about six one cup servings.
Brings 6 cups of fresh cold water to a boil (or just short of a boil) in your kettle.
Place chai tea in an infuser set in a teapot. Pour heated water over the tea mixture and infuse for about 5-7 minutes ensuring that the tea mixture is fully submerged in the water.
Remove infuser and pour tea into a medium sized pot on the stove. Whisk in maple syrup and add apples, ground spices and cinnamon sticks. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and then reduce to simmer for 6-8 minutes or until apples have softened and mixture is fragrant.
Pour apple cider into individual serving cups making sure to scoop up some apple pieces. Add a cinnamon stick and enjoy!