One of the essentials of fall is apple cider, and when the temperature dips, hot mulled cider really hits the spot - especially when there’s a shot of bourbon involved.
The apple is so iconic to American culture, that it’s crazy to think that the apple as we know it is not native here. The only native apple trees to the Americas were sour crab apples. Settlers from England brought apples with them, and struggled to get the first orchards started - in fact - they had to ship more bees to the colonies for proper pollination. The origins of the apple (and cider) date back to ancient Egypt, like 1300 BC. Back then, all cider was alcoholic because of the fermentation process and lack of ability to preserve foods. Like most alcoholic beverages, cider was a happy accident, then was replicated. The apple spread from Egypt to Rome and continued throughout Europe, then of course made its way to the new world. For centuries, cider was actually the preferred drink, even more so than beer as it had a lower alcohol content since throughout most of history water was not safe to consume. It was only in the 20th century that beer and stronger spirits became more popular, (prohibition was partly to blame. What were they thinking?!?)
Today, thanks to refrigeration and modern preservation, cider no longer has to be alcoholic, and the recipe for this week’s cocktail calls for plain old cider from the produce section. You can also leave the bourbon out for the kiddos, or instead of adding the bourbon all at once to the recipe, add a shot to the glass/mug before serving.
Bourbon Mulled Cider
1/2 Gallon Fresh Apple Cider
1/4 c Mulling Spices
8-12 oz Bourbon (I used Knob Creek Smoked Maple)
1/2 an Orange, in slices Apple Slices (optional)
Pour cider into a stock pot, (or crock pot), add mulling spices, orange slices and bourbon (if not adding separately to glasses later). Heat on low (turn on high if using the crockpot). Simmer for about 30-40 minutes to infuse flavors. Serve warm, garnish with cinnamon sticks and orange/apple slices and indulge in your warm cuppa happy.