Every year a few weeks before Thanksgiving, I get the same text from my mother. “What do you want to eat for Thanksgiving dinner?” She asks each of us this question because she knows that we all have different eating styles, habits, preferences, and she’s just all around the best mom ever and wants to accommodate everyone.
Now, before you think we’re all spoiled rotten (kind of true) and she slaves away making a million different dishes for our feast, we always help out and bring dishes to share. Plus, the food we ask for each year is generally the same because we’re all nostalgic for the Thanksgivings of our childhoods.
The one thing that always tops my Thanksgiving must-have list is hot apple cider. No, it isn’t a typical dish but to me, it embodies my favorite holiday. Clasping a warm cup of cider, smelling the clove and cinnamon, tasting the hint of orange, and maybe biting down on a whole cranberry that has been simmering for hours… It just makes me smile thinking of it!
My mom fills a large pot with apple cider then adds things like cinnamon sticks, mulling spices, orange slices, cranberries, and then lets it simmer for a long time. It smells heavenly while we prepare the rest of our feast and I always have way too much and never regret any of it.
I decided to make my own cider that is reminiscent of my mom’s. It isn’t the same and it is a little simpler, but heat it up after dinner for a little pre-bed sip has been pretty amazing.
And makes me ridiculously excited for Thanksgiving.
CranApple Cider- You can drink this hot or cold, but I happen to like the warm version best. Also, adjust the seasonings to your taste as these are more of a suggestion than a must have to make the cider.
- 1/2 cup whole cranberries
- 2 medium apples, (Braeburn, Cortland, Fuji, Honeycrisp, or Gala all work well)
- 2 cups water, divided
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4-1/2 tsp cloves
- juice from 1/4 of an orange
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- Place cranberries and 1 cup of water into your blender. Blend on the highest setting until the cranberries are completely broken up and you have a smooth liquid. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
- Roughly chop the apples, remove the core, and place in the blender along with the other cup of water. Again, blend on high until apples are completely broken down. At this point, if you want to strain the cranberry juice or apple juice so it’s thinner, you can do that with a fine mesh sieve, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag. I like keeping it on the thicker side and don’t strain it.
- Place the cranberry juice and apple juice back into the blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until everything is well combined.
- If you are serving it warm, add the cider to a pot and heat over medium-low heat. Serve in mugs with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
You can keep any leftover cider in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Just make sure it’s completely cool before you store it!