You know that tingly, giddy feeling you get when the holiday bug finally bites? This is the drink version of that feeling. This recipe (my own) will take you about 15 minutes and turn ordinary apple cider into something extraordinary. It made me want to throw a holiday party just for an excuse to make a big batch.
You could use either whole or ground spices. It really depends what you have on hand. When I only had ground spices, I added them directly to the cider. I corralled the whole spices in a tea leaf holder that I lowered into the cider to infuse. The vanilla bean, orange peel and cinnamon stick were easy to scoop out at the end.
To make, pour 4 cups of apple cider into a saucepan. Add 1 cinnamon stick, 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, 1/2 tsp each of anise, allspice, nutmeg and cloves and 1 length of orange peel. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve hot with a cinnamon stick to garnish.