The alcohol and rosemary lend a grown-up touch to this warm, comforting apple cider.
- 3 large sprigs of rosemary, roughly chopped – stems and all
- 4 cups of apple juice (I prefer juice over cider because cider separates if it accidentally reaches a boil. Juice is a bit less finicky)
- 4 Tbsp. of brown sugar
- 4 oz. of whiskey (optional)
- More sprigs of rosemary to garnish, if desired
- Combine the chopped rosemary and apple juice in a medium saucepan. Partially cover the pot of juice and warm it to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 10- 15 minutes. Taste a bit of the warm juice to see if it has infused with enough rosemary flavor to your taste. If not, let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Put a fine mesh sieve over a medium sized bowl. Strain the juice through the sieve. Rinse out the sauce pan and return the rosemary scented cider to the pot. Re-warm it over medium heat just to a simmer.
- Put the brown sugar into a soup bowl. Moisten the edge of each of four mugs with a bit of water or juice. Dip the moistened rim in the sugar, turning it a bit to coat the rim evenly. Divide the whiskey (if using) among the mugs. Fill the mugs with the hot cider. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
I’ve included the optional whiskey in the ingredient list here. Note that I usually serve everyone’s cider without any booze and place the bottle nearby. Anyone who wants a drop (me!) can add. Anyone who doesn’t want any or isn’t old enough still gets to delight in the treat of a special holiday drink.