Hot apple cider is one of my favorite holiday recipes. It's basically a New-Year's gathering must in my books. So sweet, fragrant, delicious, cozy, and so, so easy to throw together. It's literally ready in minutes and is fun to improvise with too, even if you just rely on basic pantry ingredients to spice things up.
Hot apple cider makes a delicious cozy wintery treat, and is an easy holiday favorite to throw together. This version is spruced up with the addition of mulberries and warming spices.
1. Place all ingredients (except maple syrup, if using) into a medium-large pot.
2. Bring the contents to a gentle boil on the stove on the medium-high setting, stirring occasionally. Then turn down the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer for 5 mins or so. Once done simmering, taste to make sure the mixture is sweet enough, and if not add a bit of maple syrup to taste, stir it in, and let the mixture simmer for another minute.**
3. If you prefer, carefully strain the mixture at this point to remove large spices and citrus, etc. I usually prefer not to strain mine, and just serve it as is (assuming those served to will know not to chomp down on the star anise pods, of course!).
4. Serve hot and enjoy!
*You can use 2L or just under that. My amount is based on the bottled apple cider I get most often which comes in 945ml bottles. Note: the only ingredient in the cider should be apples. The term "sweet apple cider" refers to the type of apples used resulting in a sweeter cider, and doesn't mean the cider should come sweetened with anything else. Last but not least, do not confuse apple cider with apple cider vinegar -- as they are completely different products.
**If you're using sweet apple cider, I find the maple syrup is unnecessary here (even though a sweetener is a common addition to cider -- mine always comes out plenty sweet with just the apple cider and mulberries). But brands might vary, so... that's why I recommend tasting the cider at the end and if it seems like it might not be sweet enough add a bit of maple syrup to taste. I recommend using a dark (and ideally smokey flavored syrup) for best results.