1 gallon locally produced apple cider
1 vanilla bean split
2 cinnamon sticks (1 TBSP ground cinnamon)
2 star anise
1 TBSP nutmeg
2 bay leaf
1 TBSP peppercorn
Combine all ingredients in medium sized pot and cook on medium heat for 30-45 minutes, strain ingredients let cool in fridge. Best if cooked one day ahead and reheated at time of service. It can be left on the stove on low heat with ladle for service. Garnish with cinnamon stick and apple slice if desired. Recipe can be made larger simply by doubling all ingredients based on a gallon of cider. Make it more festive by adding some of the chai tea spiced rum from the cocktail below.
.5 oz Pomegranate juice
.5 oz. pineapple juice
2.5 oz. dry champagne/brut.
(note when u mix them all together be careful they will fix all over and spill. Do champagne first then Pom then pineapple)
Can easily be made into a punch with: 4 bottles sparkling wine, 8 oz pomegranate juice, 8 oz pineapple juice with pomegranate seeds, sliced strawberries and sliced pineapples tossed in for garnish. Great holiday festive looking punch for seasonal gatherings.
Chai Spice & Stormy:
2 oz chai infused white rum (we use Bacardi and infuse with chai tea for about 2-4 hours depending on strength preferred, preferably use loose leaf tea, we use Water Street Coffee Joint Chai Spice tea, go to waterstreetcoffejoint.com to mail order. This infused rum can be used as a spiced rum in any appropriate cocktail as well.)
.5 oz House made ginger syrup (Recipe below)
Then top with soda and splash coke
Garnish with a lime
(Note this one has to be stirred or shaken a bit to get the ginger mixed with chai or it will be either too sweet or too bitter from the tea)
1 quarts water to 1 quart sugar
Add fine diced fresh ginger roughly 2 TBSP, depending on how spicy you want the syrup to be, we like it pretty spicy
Combine all ingredients in medium pot and bring to a boil, let boil for a few minutes, reduce heat and allow liquid to reduce by roughly 25%.
Strain and cool.
This syrup is very versatile, simply combine with soda water and you have a ginger beer, use it in cooking, or get creative and have fun with vanilla vodka or a variety of other liquors to make fun, easy to make cocktails.
Courtesy: Steve Strelecki, The Green Well