Chilled Spiced Cider
Growing up in Upstate New York, I took having amazing apples and cider in the fall for granted. My grandfather and I would go to our favorite local orchard and spend the morning picking a bushel or two of apples. On the way out, we would stop at a huge metal tank and get a gallon jug filled with cider. And of course we’d grab some delicious fresh donuts to go along with it. (If you’re ever in Rochester in the fall, make time to stop by Robb Farms.)
Now that I live in coastal Virginia, I rely on visiting family to bring me jugs of my favorite cider. Quality cider is good on it’s own – especially with a donut on the side! But when I’ve got a cider windfall and the fridge and freezer are full, Chilled Spiced Cider is a great way to change it up.
This lightly spiced cider is exactly what I’m looking for this time of year. It’s got great fall flavor, but is still refreshing and bubbly thanks to fresh citrus and ginger ale. It’s also non-alcoholic so the whole family can enjoy it.
Adapted from a recipe I found in Country Living a couple years ago, this drink is very simple to make. It does need a decent cider as a base though. If all that’s available near you is the watery, bland, shelf-stable variety of cider, try Simply Apple juice instead.
The recipe makes enough for four substantial glasses. (As it’s best fresh, I don’t like to have leftovers.) However, if you have a larger group, you can easily double it.
Chilled Spiced Cider
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 inch-long piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 4 cups apple cider, chilled
- 1 cup ginger ale, chilled
- 1 small orange, sliced
- 1 small Granny Smith apple, sliced
- Combine lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon stick, allspice, and cloves in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool, then strain through a small mesh sieve, discarding the solids.
- Place the orange and apple slices in a 2 quart pitcher or mason jar. Add the lemon juice mixture, cider, and ginger ale and stir gently to combine. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.