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Orange Mulled Whiskey Cider

 

When the winds begin to howl, and Christmas music plays in the background, this is the time of year for a hot (spiked) cider drink.

 

 Orange Mulled Whiskey CiderPhoto by Bob Van Slooten

Orange Mulled Whiskey CiderPhoto by Bob Van Slooten

Winter and Christmastime seem to call out for a hot cider drink, preferably spiked, for sipping by a fire or with a good movie, like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. This recipe hits all the high notes in my opinion, with cider, maple syrup, orange flavour, spices. And whiskey. What’s not to love? The orange really sets this hot cider drink apart with just the right amount of citrusy accent to give it a twist. If you are short on vanilla beans, in a pinch, you could substitute with Nielsen Massey vanilla extract, but the bean really adds a nice touch. The sweetness of the cider doesn’t really require much of the maple syrup, but by all means, include some. It does round out the taste nicely. As mentioned below, I used Canadian Club whiskey, but whatever your favourite is, certainly use it if you wish. 

If you’re not familiar with Nielsen-Massey extracts and flavourings, you’re in for a treat. I have been using their vanilla for years in baking among other things, but they also make a fine line of other extracts as well. Almond and lemon are more of my favourites. Almond and cherry pie are almost indispensible in my book. They are also one of the few companies that still manufacture rose water, which I’ve used in cookies and puddings, just to name a few possibilities. So, if you are baking this Christmas, it pays to use the very best in vanilla extracts especially, as the fake stuff (artificial vanilla) just doesn’t compare. I cannot be stress this enough. Now, on to some pure sipping yumminess!

Ingredients:

2 quarts apple cider
1/2 cup 100% pure pomegranate juice
1/3 cup 100% pure maple syrup (adjust maple syrup if cider is already sweet)
1 Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Orange Extract
3 large cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
5 whole allspice berries
1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
2/3 cup whiskey (I used Canadian Club)
1 large Gala apple, thinly sliced (garnish)

Add apple cider, pomegranate juice and maple syrup to a large saucepan; heat over medium-high heat. Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise with the tip of a small knife. Scrape both sides of the bean with the knife’s dull side and add the seeds and bean to the saucepan.

Add the orange extract, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries and cardamom seeds to the saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Strain mulled cider through a fine mesh sieve. Add whiskey; stir to combine. Serve with a fresh apple slice. (I might be inclined to use a cinnamon stick too.) 

Serves 6

References:

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas Inc. http://www.nielsenmassey.com/culinary/about-nielsen-massey-vanillas.php Last accessed November 25, 2016. They have a whole section of recipes on this website, it’s fabulous. 

 

You can follow the further adventures of Sue or sign up for a class at her website: wwwsvanslooten@icloud.com or email at suevanslooten@icloud.com.

 

 

 

 

A Cool Sipping Summer Cocktail

A Cool Sipping Summer Cocktail

Sue Van Slooten

 

 Bee's Knees Photo by Domaine Pinnacle.

Bee's Knees Photo by Domaine Pinnacle.

First off, this recipe is absolutely delicious!  It’s a rather unlikely combination in a way, as drinks using honey are somewhat unusual. One that comes to mind is mead, a very ancient drink made from honey, spices and water, among other ingredients, then fermented. Mead is fairly difficult to come by for the most part, although it may be more popular in England. This cocktail makes use of honey simple syrup, and simple to make it is. It’s just a 50/50 concentration of honey and water, simmered together. (Regular simple syrup is just water and white sugar, same ratio.  Try it for sweetening ice tea.) The recipe calls for Ungava gin, and if you can’t find it, use any high quality gin that’s readily available, although Ungava would be preferred for its unique flavor. This gin is a Canadian specialty utilizing arctic plants and herbs from northern Quebec. It has a lovely golden colour to it, unlike the usual clear gins on the market. Wait a minute you say, Canadian gin? There is no such thing. Gin comes from England, end of story. Not quite. This one is the first to be made in Canada, outside of the English sphere of gin influence. So if you can find it, do try it, you will be very pleasantly surprised. 

Bee's Knees                  

Ingredients:

Ungava Gin - 45ml

Lemon juice - 30ml

Honey syrup - 30ml

Total Recipe yields one portion

Method:

-Load ingredients into shaker tin

-Shake with one scoop of ice

-Strain over chilled glass

Honey syrup recipe:

Add one part honey with one part water and bring it to a boil.

Now you have the perfect sipper for out on the deck, balcony, picnic or whatever social occasion that needs a cool, sweet/sour drink to savor. Just the thing for this hot summer we’re having!

Please remember to drink sensibly, and don't drink and drive!

Important Notes:

Ungava Gin. www.ungava-gin.com Their website for more ideas and recipes. Do check this out, it’s a totally cool, pun intended, website. Last accessed July 14, 2016.

Ungava Gin is produced by Domaine Pinnacle.

Photo by Courtesy of Domaine Pinnacle.