Every new home deserves a housewarming celebration, and what open house party would be complete without a signature cocktail? For us, that meant serving 50+ people a hot apple cider infused with oranges, cloves, cinnamon sticks & ginger, and spiked with dark rum and cinnamon schnapps.
1 gallon apple cider
1 bottle (750 ml) dark rum
1 bottle (750 ml) cinnamon schnapps
1 large orange, sliced (unpeeled)
4 cinnamon sticks
healthy pinch of ground ginger (about a teaspoon)
healthy dash of whole cloves (about a dozen)
In a large stock pot, combine the entire gallon of cider with half to 2/3 of the rum and half to 2/3 of the bottle of schnapps. Add the orange slices, cloves, ginger and cinnamon sticks.
Bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to low. Simmer continuously and serve hot. I kept mine on low throughout the whole party and we just ladled it out into Irish coffee mugs!
You can easily make a larger quantity to serve a bigger crowd by pouring in the entire 750-ml. bottle of rum (same with the Schnapps) and adding a half gallon or more of cider.
Adjust the quantity (and therefore the strength) of the alcohol to your preference.
It’s such a weird feeling for me to not be cooking the meal this Thanksgiving, but in truth I couldn’t handle it this year. Between 10-hour workdays, a major move, a husband juggling two jobs, and the fact that my recipes and pots are NOT unpacked, I’m lucky I managed to unearth the simple ingredients and saucepan needed to make my favorite side: Cranberry Sauce with a kick!
Here is the basic recipe (inspired by one of my first copies of Rachael Ray Magazine, from about 2006). I double this so everyone has plenty to take home with their leftovers.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick (add more if you like; I do!)
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 tsp grated orange peel
- 1/4 tsp salt
- One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, fresh ginger (or 1/4 tsp ground), orange peel and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.
Stir in the cranberries and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and remove the cinnamon stick (unless, like me, you let it simmer wayyyy longer than 10 minutes so that the sauce turns gelatinous and the cinnamon sticks practically dissolve). Let cool.
Enjoy! And have a very Happy Thanksgiving!