Grilled Bruschetta with Asparagus and Cheese with Spiced and Spiked Apple Cider
Has it really been 12 days? Already? It seems to be universally true that the holiday season flies by faster and faster every year. This 12 Days of Hors d’Oeuvres and Cocktails project has gone by just as fast as those last few days of December, when you realize that the beginning of a new year is fast approaching.
During these busy times, it is comforting to hold in your hands a steaming hot cup of apple cider, enjoying the quiet, even for a brief moment. Somehow holding a cup of comfort like this helps to create a calmness no matter what the setting. In this series of holiday parties, I thought it would be nice to give you a cocktail that can give your guests that peaceful feeling. Peace after the crazy hours of Christmas shopping, the loud and often slow holiday traffic, and any other stresses that have presented themselves in the past days and weeks.
I posted this cocktail a few weeks ago and couldn’t help sharing it in this series. It is easy to make in large batches and as long as you have something to keep the cider warm during the party (I like to use a crockpot) you are set for a cozy and comforting evening.
Paired with Debi’s Grilled Bruschetta with Asparagus and Cheese, the cider is a lovely change from the other cocktails I have posted in the previous 11 days of this 12 day series.
Click here for Debi’s recipe and find the cider recipe below.
Thanks to all who followed our 12 Days of Hors d’Oeuvres and Cocktails!
Spiced (and Spiked) Apple Cider
makes 1 gallon of cider (serves 6)
1 gallon apple cider
1 inch pieces each lemon and orange zest (organic if at all possible- this can make a big difference in the quality of the flavor)
4 whole cloves
4 whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
pinch of nutmeg
1/3 cup Amaretto
*note: if you have a large tea ball, use that for the spices. If not, just put them directly in the cider and strain the cider when ready to serve.
In a large stock pot, combine all ingredients except the almond liquor. Bring to a low simmer and cover for 10 minutes (be sure the heat is low so the cider does not burn up or scald.)
In each serving mug, pour 1/2 or 1 shot of almond liquor (depending on how spiked you like your cider.) Pour the hot cider over the almond liquor and garnish each cocktail with a whole star anise. Serve piping hot and share with those you love.