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Like cold lemonade in the summer it’s hot cider in the winter around here, specifically, Cranberry Apple Cider. This sweet and tart cider will warm you from your head to your toes; especially if you decide to make it into an adult drink by adding a little extra cheer to your cup when serving.
If you are a frequenter of our blog, you’re aware of how much I love cranberries. Makes sense since the bogs were right down the road. Where I grew up, we were literally in cranberry country and everyone incorporated the tart little berry in so many different dishes. I can’t remember a holiday that past where we did not have at least three dishes that included cranberries. So it was fitting that our winter cider drinks had just as much cranberry juice as it did apple cider.
I suppose you could also call this Mulled Cranberry Apple Cider. Mulling spices usually consist of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg; less frequently (but becoming popular) are the additions of star anise, peppercorns or cardamom. I’ve got most of the “Mulling Gang” here in this recipe, but I substitute Cranberry Juice for the often-used orange slices in most Mulled Apple Cider recipes you’ll see. Be sure to use an “apple cider” and not “apple juice” when making your cranberry apple cider. The sweet-tart cranberry fits perfectly with the crisp and sharp apple cider. This is probably one of my favorite cranberry recipes next to my mom’s Cranberry Dream Bars.
- 1 Qt Cranberry Juice
- 1 Qt Apple Cider
- 6 Whole Cloves
- 2 sticks Cinnamon
- 4 Whole All Spice
One of the following containers to heat the Cranberry Apple Cider:
- large crock-pot or slow cooker
- large pot for the stove
Start by placing all the spices into a cheese cloth if you’re using a crock-pot or stove top. If you are using the percolator, just place them in the top portion where the coffee grounds would go. I use a percolator but you don’t need one to make this recipe. I like it because it not only makes the cider and keeps it hot, but also helps the kids serve themselves. Having little kids serve themselves with a ladle of hot cider usually doesn’t end up well. But for more grown up affairs, the crock-pot or stove top works perfectly.
Next, add the Cranberry juice and cider. If you are using a crock-pot or stove top method, you can now place the cheese cloth with the spices into the pot, then cover and bring to boil. Once it starts to boil reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for at least 30 minutes but can be slowly simmered for hours as well. If using the percolator, make sure all your pieces are back together and the lid is on and plug that bad boy in. 30 minutes later it is ready to serve. The longer the spices sit the more flavorful it gets but don’t let the spices sit longer than an hour and half other wise they start to break down and no one wants floaties in their hot Cranberry Apple Cider.