Red Cider Zipper

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serves 6 |start to finish: 25 minutes
Fresh cider is available at many Seattle farmers’ markets throughout the winter and makes a wonderful base for this hot drink. Ginger gives it a spicy kick, and the hibiscus and rosehip tea lends a tart pucker and a red glow. You might find it difficult to stop drinking, either straight from the pot or spiked with brandy and bitters. Perhaps a double batch is in order.

1 quart apple cider, preferably fresh
8 whole cloves
8 allspice berries
3 cinnamon sticks
3 inches of fresh ginger, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
5 orange slices, including rind
4 tea bags of red hibiscus and rosehip herbal tea, such as Red Zinger or Tazo Passion
2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoons honey (optional)
9 fluid ounces apple brandy (optional)
Orange or Angostura bitters (optional)

[twocolumns]Pour the cider into a medium saucepan with all of the spices, the ginger, and the orange slices. Bring to a low boil on medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, steep the four tea bags in two cups of boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, stir in the honey, if using, and set aside.
After the cider has simmered for 20 minutes, pour the herbal tea into the cider. Serve immediately or leave to mull further on low heat until ready to drink.
For a cocktail, ladle 6 ounces of cider into a mug or hot toddy glass. Stir in a shot (3 tablespoons) of apple brandy and two or three dashes of bitters.[/twocolumns]
gluten-free • vegetarian • vegan


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