Thursday, January 28, 2016

Brown Sugar Bourbon Apple Cider

While I love my fun in the sun, splashing in the pool, and toes in the sand, there is part of me that longs for the weather to turn cooler.  Soups and stews and everything comforting are some of my favorite things that come along with cooler weather.  But apples and cinnamon might possibly be my most favorite things that come along during this time of year.

Apples are readily available year around, but this time of year is apple season.  This is when apples are truly the best and this is also the time of year that those bottles of apple cider start lining the shelves of the market.  Oh, and do you know I discovered a new cider this year?!?!

Honeycrisp cider.

A cider made from my all time FAVORITE apples.  Those deliciously tart and sweet apples.  YUM.  I could barely contain my excitement when I saw it in the store.  It's like the heavens opened up, the angels were singing and the lights got a little brighter.  Okay...maybe that didn't really happen, but my excitement meter was through the roof!  And it's just as delicious as the apples themselves.

Anyway...sorry about the detour.  Back to the recipe at hand.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE apple cider.  I can't tell you how many times I make the stuff once the winter weather hits.  Now, most people pop the top off, heat it up and sip as is and that's perfectly fine.  But, I do a little extra flavoring before I start my sipping.

I pop it in a saucepan along with some cinnamon sticks, red hots and a splash of orange juice and let it simmer till those candies are nothing but a bright red memory.  Aside from this making a deliciously flavored drink with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, it also makes the entire house smell like cinnamon apples.  YUM!
I decided to take my basic cider recipe, change it up a touch and spike it!

It still has the sweet cider, spicy red hots and cinnamon but I've added a bit of brown sugar to give it an almost caramel note.  I also added a splash of lemon juice for some acidity and balance and then a healthy glug of bourbon.  Your house still smells amazing and you've got a delicious cocktail perfect for cooler weather!

Brown Sugar Bourbon Apple Cider

1 Cup apple cider
1 Tbsp red hot candies
1 Cinnamon stick
1/2 Tsp brown sugar
1 Tsp lemon juice
1 1/2-2 Oz bourbon


Combine apple cider, red hots, cinnamon stick and brown sugar in a small saucepan.  Place over medium-low heat.  Stir to combine ingredients, then continue stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved and the red hots have melted.  Remove from heat and allow to steep for about 5 minutes.

When ready to serve, add lemon juice and bourbon to a mug and stir to combine.  Top off with the warm cider mixture, stir, garnish with an apple slice and enjoy.

*I drizzled the inside of the glass with salted caramel sauce.  I love the addition of flavor the salt brings, but this step is totally optional.

Recipe source: A Lynsey Original

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