Whatcom County was supposed to get some snow today (it snowed last night in the county, but not in town), so for my recipe demo this week I thought something that would warm up customers would be the best bet.
We have some beautiful, fresh, Washington grown cranberries in our produce departments right now that we buy farmer-direct. Bellewood Acres has also been supplying us with their delicious cider (one of the reasons I love Fall so much!) and I thought it would be fun to combine the two into a hot and tasty cider.
I couldn’t find a recipe using fresh cranberries online, so I decided to make it up as I went along. Making spiced cider is very easy, and adding the cranberries doesn’t complicate things much at all. I simply added a pound of fresh (and washed) cranberries to a gallon of the local cider in a large stockpot. To that I added in cinnamon sticks, some whole cloves, and I sliced a lemon and tossed that in for a little more acidity. So it wouldn’t be too sour, I added just over a 1/4 cup of organic, raw dark agave syrup, although you could use just about any sweetener – honey would be good, as would a little light brown sugar. I let that simmer for a few hours and when I was ready to serve it I strained it out and served it up – it was just the right amount of tart and the smell made my mouth water! I’ll note that the longer you let it simmer, the more integrated the flavors are, but I tried it after and hour and it was great – don’t worry if you don’t have a couple or few hours to let it simmer.
It was the perfect thing to serve today – while there was no snow it was still cold, and almost nothing tastes better than a hot cup on cider this time of year! Customers were very appreciative to have a hot beverage to sample as they shopped and they all thought it tasted really great.
Hot Spiced Apple Cranberry Cider
- 1 gallon apple cider
- 1 # fresh cranberries, rinsed
- 1 small lemon, washed and thinly sliced
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 1/2 t whole cloves
- ~ 1/4 c agave syrup (or other sweetener like honey or light brown sugar)
- In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for an hour or two, stirring occasionally.
- Taste to see if you need to add any more sweetener (if so, add by the T and let it cook for about 5 more minutes).
- Remove cranberries, lemon, and spices from cider by pouring cider through a strainer into a heat-proof container. Press cranberries into strainer with the back of a spoon to remove as much juice as possible.
- Serve hot, with a slice of apple for garnish!