One great thing about cider is that aside from drinking it, people regularly use it in recipes, mulls and refreshing summery drinks.
Another is that all of the recipes that call for real cider can also use, some may say to lesser effect, apple juice for non-alcoholic variations. Whichever way you look at it, the range of serving suggestions and recipes that can be used either as theme night fare or on special cider nights is huge and experimenting with cider is easy and relatively low risk.
Traditional Mulled Cider
For every eight pints of cider (real cider is best here) you want to mull, add 12 cloves, three or four cinnamon sticks, a good grate of nutmeg and a teaspoon of all spice – you can bundle this up in a small cloth or leave them to float free. Mix all of these ingredients in a large pot on the stove and let boil. Once boiled, let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in mugs, draining off any remaining spices and garnish with a thin slice of orange.
Use the recipe as above but this time add 60ml of crème de cassis for a fruity touch.
Mulled Cider with Orange
This is a great idea if you are making a lot of mulled cider, or are selling it on and need to stretch out your ingredients. It tastes great; it’s not a low quality option just gives you some room to manoeuvre. For every eight pints of cider add one carton of real orange juice. Add 12 cloves, three or four cinnamon sticks, a teaspoon of all spice and whole orange slices – one or two oranges dependent on how fruity you want it. Mix all of these ingredients in a large pot on the stove and let boil. Once boiled, let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in mugs, draining off any remaining spices and garnish with the orange slices from the brew.
Apple Pie and Cheese Slices
This is a gorgeous winter warmer taken from the American tradition to have a slice of cheese on top of your apple pie. It’s a drink and finger food combination.
For every eight pints of cider add 12 cloves, three or four cinnamon sticks, a teaspoon of all spice, grated nutmeg, a pinch of salt and a few drops of vanilla essence. Mix all of these ingredients in a large pot on the stove and let boil. Once boiled, let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in mugs, and garnish with a shake of nutmeg or you could even lie a cinnamon stick in each.
As a snack accompaniment these do the trick and go really well with your warm Apple Pie drinks. Sieve 225g of flour and half a teaspoon of salt into a bowl. Cut 50g of lard and 50g of butter into cubes and rub lightly into the flour until you have breadcrumbs. Now add 150g of really good tasting grated cheddar cheese, keeping just a little back to sprinkle on the finished article. Add two tablespoons of water to this and stir in until it becomes soft pastry. Let this rest in the fridge for about half an hour and then roll out to the thickness you want to serve, cut into slices and place on a well greased baking tray. Cook in a preheated oven between 190°C: 375°F: Gas 5 and 220°C: 425°F: Gas 7. How long it takes very much depends on the thickness of your slices. You’re looking at anything from 15 minutes so keep an eye on it!
Even though the bulk of cider recipes still use warmth and spice as aids to bring all of the flavour out of the cider, there are a number of chilled cocktails and mixer drinks that are just as good and perfect for a summer event. For every pint of real cider you use, match it with a pint of good quality lemonade. So we’re using two pints of cider, two pints of lemonade, lots of ice and apple slices that have been dipped in lemon and sugar to sit amongst the ice. Pour all of this into a large glass jug or pitcher and serve in glasses with fresh ice.
Real cider aficionados will have stopped breathing at this point, we’re sure! But this is a great, effective and original drink to add a splash of theatre to any cider related event. Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with a splash of apple brandy so the sides are coated and then pour out. Add 45ml of cinnamon infused vodka * and a healthy splash of real cider to a shaker with ice and once shaken strain into your glass. Garnish with a twist of apple or cinnamon stick if required.
* You can make your own cinnamon infused vodka by simply getting good quality vodka, adding a few cinnamon sticks to the bottle and leaving for a few days. Alternatively you could stir the cocktail once complete with half a cinnamon stick and leave it in the glass as a garnish. When you garnish, the aroma of whatever is sitting on the edge of the glass adds to the overall taste and aromatic blend of the drink.