I love a hot winter weather drink of the adult persuasion. Cold and/or snowy nights are the best for snuggling up with with a steamy mug of something – hot chocolate, coffee, tea, etc. Now, I don’t have anything against those guys, they are great for early mornings and tame nights. What I’m talking about specifically here is a drink that holds its own whether you are sitting on your couch watching The Walking Dead or hanging with friends and taking a to-go drink to walk through the falling snow.
THIS drink. It is THAT drink.
Normally, I’ll take a well-made hot toddy to get my through a cold night or chilled Saturday afternoon. But this cupful of steamy cocktail fun is just a little more edgier than its counterparts are. It adds a bit more color into an otherwise subdued category of winter refreshment.
I first had a rendition of this in Provincetown at the beginning of December after coming in from the freezing rain while walking the streets shopping for Christmas gifts. Chilled to the bone from the winds blowing off the Atlantic, I was looking for something to heat me from the inside out.
Hot apple cider with cherry flavored rum. I saw it on the menu and initially passed on it, ordering the regular spiked cider. My husband on the other hand ordered the cherry cider thing. When the drinks arrived I had a sip of his, and insisted we swap drinks right then and there. He did not fight me, as for some reason he was not as in love with it as I was.
It tasted like melted down Luden’s cherry cough drops poured into hot spiced apple cider. It was warm and soothing – a liquid winter candy clearly made by unicorns and elves who live in the woods high-up in the mountains of, most likely, Vermont. (Yes, that is the description I am going with.)
When trying to reconstruct this at home, I thought best to add in some other flavors as well. A pinch of cardamom, a cinnamon stick, whole cloves and a few drops of orange bitters. (I’m still debating on whether or not to include actual Luden’s cough drops.) You could also put in one of these homemade bourbon soaked cherries.
This is a sweet, but not overpowering mixture that hits many of the right notes. Your tastebuds are likely to agree.
Warning: These go down fast, tasting like candy and all. Use that knowledge as you see fit.
To make yourself a cup:
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1-2 shots of cherry rum (I used Bicardi Torched Cherry)
- a drop or two of orange bitters
- 1/8 tsp cardamom
- mulling spice kit
For homemade mulling spice:
- 1 Tbs allspice
- 10 whole cloves
- 1 star anise pod
- a few orange rinds
- 2 cinnamon sticks
Heat apple cider to desire temperature. While that’s heating, place all spices (including the cardamom) in a muslin bag. Once the apple cider is heated, let the bag of spices steep in the cider for a few minutes. (If making a larger batch, multiply ingredients accordingly and steep spices in the cider over a pot of cider on the stove top.)
Put hot cider in your favorite hot beverage drink ware and add in cherry flavored rum and bitters. Garnish with orange, cloves and a cinnamon stick.