Over the years I’ve come up with a number of “go to” things to bring to holiday parties and events. Since I’m a Drink Editor, at some point I started to become in charge of bringing the booze, or mixing the booze once I arrived. In the winter months, that booze almost always comes in the form of warm apple cider.
Apple cider is one of those things that I’ve discovered everyone likes. Even if someone tells you it’s not for them, put a giant crock pot full of warm apple cider near them during a cold month and they’ll be drinking it in no time. And if you’re the one hosting the party, it makes your house smell like an old school cider house — better than any holiday candle can.
Apple cider is perfect for gatherings with friends, family dinners, Christmas parties… pretty much anywhere where a large group of people plan on getting together.
So, what do you need to make it happen? A massive crock pot, some sort of ladel, and apple cider. You can make apple cider with apple juice, but it gets complicated. I recommend just buying “apple cider” from your local grocery. It comes in big plastic or glass jars this time of year and typically costs about what you’d pay for straight apple juice, except it’s already got some spices in it.
Depending on what event you’re bringing it to, I sometimes go ahead and add the booze to the mix, but you want to be careful — alcohol will cook off if you leave it heated for too long. And if there are little people at your event, it can be nice to allow the adults to add their own booze later rather than create a drink that kids can’t enjoy at the party as well.
To make it, you can literally just pour the cider in a crock pot and heat it up. If you want to get fancy, Pinnacle vodka recently sent me a recipe for Caramel Apple Cider that takes things a step further, but in an oh-so-delicious way.
Slow Cooker Caramel Apple Cider
8 parts Pinnacle Original Vodka
7 cups apple cider
8 parts caramel syrup
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 tablespoons cinnamon
¼ cup brown sugar
Apples for garnish
Preparation: Combine ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for 3 hours. Garnish with sliced apples and a drizzle of caramel. Add lots of apple slices floating in your slow cooker for visual presentation and extra flavor.