Need a great drink for your Thanksgiving celebration? I came up with this seasonally appropriate toasted spice cider punch for a Halloween party and it was a hit.
8 oz bourbon
20-24 oz apple cider
Brown sugar simple syrup (process below)
2 cinnamon sticks
8-10 whole cloves
6-8 allspice berries
2 star aniseeds
~1 L club soda or seltzer
coffee filter or 5”x5” cheesecloth
Yield: Depends one your serving size, but enough for a group.
For the simple syrup: Combine 1/2 c brown sugar and 1/2 c water in a pot. Bring to a boil over medium low heat and cook about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until all the sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely.
In a dry pan over medium low heat, toast spices just until you can smell them. They burn easily so toast with care to avoid bitterness.
Put spices in a coffee filter or in the center of a 5x5 square of cheese cloth. Gather the edges/corners and tie with kitchen twine. Drop the spice bag in a large container and add bourbon, cider, and syrup. Chill for at least a few hours, overnight is best to let the flavors come together. Discard the spice bag and add club soda, a 1:1 ratio of club soda to cider mixture works well. Serve in a punch bowl or in individual glasses over ice. Garnish with thin apple slices and just a tiny love tap of ground cinnamon.
You can leave out the bourbon for kids/non-drinkers, just let the spices hang out in the cider mixture longer since it won’t have the alcohol to help extract the flavors.
Also, you can store the cider mixture in your fridge for a couple weeks if you just want to have it around for a glass here and there. Just leave out the club soda and add it to each individual glass.