When the north wind starts to drive the warm weather away, the air turns crisp as the leaves begin to fall, and the days start to hint at winter, memories of apple cider dance into mind.
My mother makes THE BEST apple cider!
Her recipe will have all your guests coming back to refill their mug and asking if you made that delicious apple cider when they walk in the door. The best part–it is so easy to make!
Today I’m going to share three easy ways to make apple cider. One is my mom’s traditional apple cider recipe, which is a staple at all our family and friend gatherings once it turns cold. The other two are my ultra-simplified version of an already simplified version. Why? Because I stumbled upon these variations and found them to be amazingly simple yet still yielding the great taste that the traditional cider brings.
My Mom’s Traditional Apple Cider Recipe
For this recipe you will need:
- Apple juice
- Apple cider
- Orange juice
- Cinnamon sticks (do not use powder)
- Whole cloves
You can make as much or as little as you want. Typically, my mom makes an entire crock pot full of cider. She simply puts all the ingredients into the crock pot and uses the following amounts:
- 3 parts apple juice
- 2 parts apple cider
- 1 part orange juice*
- cinnamon sticks (usually 4-5 if filling the crock pot)
- whole cloves (almost a handful, if filling the crock pot)
So, for example, if she uses three cups of apple juice, she’ll use two cups of cider, and one cup of orange juice.
*Depending on what kind of orange juice you buy, you will need to alter this amount. If you use fresh orange juice, you might want to add it a little more than one part orange juice. If you use a canned or frozen concentrate, then you might use less than one part orange juice. Basically, you want to taste it along the way and adjust it to your liking.
Turn the crock pot on high and let it simmer 10-15 minutes. Then it will be ready to serve! How easy is that? Your house will smell great, your guests will be impressed, and you will have spent hardly any time slaving away in the kitchen, which means more time enjoying your guests!
(Of course, you could use a pot on the stove as well. We just don’t like to use up valuable stove top real estate when we are cooking holiday meals, so we use the crock pot.)
The Modified Apple Cider
The first time I decided to make my mom’s cider, I did not have cinnamon sticks or whole cloves. Using the powder would have left a not so palatable film in the liquid, so I grabbed what I had on hand. Can you guess what it was?
Thieves essential oil! Thieves actually has cinnamon and cloves in it as well as some other oils, including lemon, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary. I know that combination might seem a little strange, but let me tell you, it tastes great! I just used a few drops and still received the rave reviews that my mom always gets.
(This post contains affiliate links.)
The Faux Apple Cider
This version of apple cider I happened onto by complete accident. I had a sore throat and was trying everything to get rid of it. I remembered that gargling with the aforementioned thieves might help, but I did not want to gargle it. I was tired and just wanted to sleep. So, I put a drop of thieves into a cup of apple juice and drank it down.* The thieves numbed my throat and calmed my cough so I could go to sleep. I was totally impressed with how it worked but even more impressed with how my apple juice tasted like apple cider with just one drop of added essential oil.
Call me lazy if you want, but my mom’s recipe went from being already easy to super easy! Of course, this last version I did not heat up because I wanted the full effects of the oils to work.
Although I do enjoy sitting while reading and sipping on my apple cider, I believe apple cider should be enjoyed with others. Actually, most of my memories involving apple cider are with a house full of people. We are having fun, talking, laughing, and sharing life.
Apple cider would be a perfect gift to share with others this season. I found this great bottle at a local store for about $3. After we enjoyed the lemonade the bottle originally contained, I simply removed the label and now we can recycle it as an apple cider gift!
What memories do you have associated with apple cider?
With whom might you enjoy sharing a cup of apple cider?
Items you might consider using for this recipe:
*(Thieves is a blend of essential oils. I believe in the French philosophy of using essential oils, which allows for the ingesting of some oils. There are other philosophies that do not. I do recommend using safety precautions, learning about essential oil safety and not just doing it because I do it this way. I don’t recommend drinking large amounts of thieves but I’ve found a drop every 4-6 hours does help me when I’m not feeling well.)