Tailgate Food + Drink: Hot Apple Cider

Tailgate Food + Drink: Hot Apple Cider

Light Up Okotoks 2018 - Hot Apple Cider

Did you visit us at the recent Light Up Okotoks event and taste our delicious, homemade Hot Apple Cider?  As promised, we're sharing our not so secret recipe!  Even if you didn't swing by for a taste-test, we promise you will LOVE this cider.  Best of all, it's pretty easy to make!

1. I like to mix my apples so I used both granny smith apples and ambrosia.  Granny smith's aren't as sweet so you can better control the sweetness when making cider

Granny Smith Apples

Ambrosia Apples

2. Cut apples into quarters and then halve again.  YES leave the skins on - there's so much flavour in most fruit skins!  I have a relatively small crockpot, so I only cooked 5 apples at a time.  If you have a larger crockpot, adjust the recipe accordingly.

Cut Apples in Crockpot

3. Prep your spices!  Now this is where I get a little extra. I really, really like fresh herbs, spices and citrus zest so I go the extra mile and buy whole ingredients and I put my zester to work. In this recipe, I've also supplemented my fresh stuff with some dried spices just to be sure the cider is full flavoured. 

If you can't find whole nutmeg in the grocery store, hit up a bulk foods store and you should find some there. 

And yes, that's an orange.  But Robyn, apples and oranges are like opposites?!  True....but the orange will add a really nice fresh POP to the cider that won't be overtly noticeable.  Zesting fruits really adds wonderful, bright flavours to just about anything.

Hot Apple Cider Spices

Zesting Nutmeg

4. Add your spices, sugar, orange zest/juice and water to the crockpot.  Zest and then toss in the cinnamon sticks and whole nutmeg.  Give it a quick stir and fire that bad boy up to high!

Hot Apple Cider Spices and Water in Crockpot

5. After you've cooked your apple cider on high for about 4 hours (and your house now smells amahhhhzing!), mash those apples up in the crockpot and cook for an additional 1-2 hours.  The longer you cook it, the more intense the flavours.

Hot Apple Cider Mash

6. Once everything is done cooking, put the cider through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to extract the juice and leave the chunks behind.  I then put my cider in large jars. 

But what do you do with all those chunks? Put them in the blender (minus the whole spices), whirl them around and BOOM, delicious apple sauce that you can pop in a jar and eat with let's say...pork chops?  The sauce should keep in the fridge for about 7 days or you can freeze it.  


Apple Sauce

7. Either serve your hot apple cider immediately or warm it up later.  I recommend garnishing with a cinnamon stick and orange slice if you want to be fancy!

Did I mention how much of an awesome homemade gift his would make?  Because it would.  Just toss it in a jar, wrap a ribbon around it and call it a day!  You could even gift this with a bottle of bourbon or rum to make it Spiked Hot Apple Cider.

Hot Apple Cider Gift

Prep Time: 10 minutes / 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4-6 hours

Makes: 4 cups

  • 5 large apples (granny smith, ambrosia), cut in eighths and seeded
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp dried cinnamon
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. dried nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. all spice
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • juice of 1/2 orange

If you have a larger crockpot, increase the recipe accordingly. 

Also, this can be made on the stock in a large stock pot.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about an hour.  Then mash up the apples and cook for an additional hour.  



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