When the Mardi Gras season is chilly and damp, I make a crock pot full of hot apple cider, mulled with spices and citrus zest. My crock pots holds three quarts so I usually buy a quart and a half of unfiltered apple juice and then make up the remainder with the cheapest apple juice I can buy. Make sure you're buying 100% apple juice and not a blend.
Per one quart of apple juice:
One stick of cinnamon
Twenty whole black peppercorns
Three whole cloves
Two tablespoons honey (or brown sugar)
In addition to these four ingredients, use the zest from half a lemon, lime, or lemon-sized orange for each quart of apple juice.
Toast the cinnamon, peppercorns and cloves in a saucepan. It will only take a couple of minutes for them to release the oils. Pour in apple juice and the sweetener to dissolve. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Pour through a strainer into the crock pot and simmer for 1 hour. Turn low and it will be good all day.
To adultify—add a half ounce of blood orange liquor or limoncello to the mug. Stir with a cinnamon stick.
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