The Scent of Christmas
The best way to welcome your holiday guests is with a pot of mulled cider simmering on the stove.
Now that the evenings here in southeastern North Carolina are finally chilly, I believe it warrants a mug of something warm and spiced. For as long as I can remember, my family has been dressing up mulled apple cider with all sorts of different flavors and spices, and this version gives this seasonal spirit a nice kick of tartness.
The coziness of this drink takes me back to Christmas Eve with my family. My mother always makes the mulled cider, and the smell as it simmers is such a comfort to me. After all the gifts have been opened and we settle in around the tree to discuss the events of the past year, we sip on this tasty toddy.
It is easy to serve this to a crowd, as the recipe is easy to scale up or down. You can also make it in a crockpot, which is a great way to serve it at a covered dish event. The longer the cider simmers the better it tastes and the better the house smells.
Feel free to use festive garnishes like cinnamon sticks and fresh cranberries to make the cider more visually appealing. Offer a little whiskey alongside for those who want a boozy version and allow each recipient to add a little or a lot as they see fit. I typically start out with a little and then it turns into a lot with each serving.
I hope your family enjoys this holiday tradition as much as mine does — with or without the spike of whiskey!