It’s cold. You should drink something hot. How about mulled cider? Take advantage of apple season, and make the cider from scratch before combining it with spices and letting it simmer in a slow cooker. If you find yourself stumped on how to use the leftover apple pulp, see my recipe for Johnny Apple-Flaxseed Pancakes.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
4 large apples
1/2 cup orange juice
2 star anise
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon sliced ginger
1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste
Remove the stems and seeds from the apples, taking care to leave as much flesh and skin untouched as possible. Roughly chop the apples before placing them in a food processor. Pulse until the apples are pulverized, with juice visibly pooling on top. Using cheesecloth and a large-rimmed glass jar, strain all the juice until only a nearly-dry pulp is remaining (some wringing with your hands may be necessary). Store the pulp in a container and place in the refrigerator for later use.
Deseed the pomegranate, and place the seeds in the food processor along with the orange juice. Pulse until all the seeds are burst, about 4-5 times. Use cheesecloth to strain the pom-orange juice into the apple juice.
In a slow cooker, combine the juice, anise, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. If time is not an issue, cook on the lowest setting for several hours before drinking the cider. To enjoy the cider more quickly, cook on the highest setting for an hour before turning to the lowest setting. You may drink anytime after that, but the flavor certainly improves over time. Taste for sweetness, adding honey to suit your preference.