Monday, December 23, 2013

Home For The Holidays


Although I am happy in my new state of Florida - hey, more opportunities for picnicking! - Connecticut will always be "home" for me. Having lived here almost my entire life, and having my three daughters, son-in-laws and grandchildren here makes for pretty strong ties. So, to all my Connecticut contacts, Happy Holidays, and may 2014 bring you peace, love and joy.

This recipe for Cider Wassail has been a favorite at our family Christmas party for many years. Once you taste it, I guarantee it will become a favorite for you as well.

Cider Wassail (serves 10-15)

4 cups fresh apple cider
1/4 - 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark rum
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons apple brandy
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
pinch salt
1 rounded teaspoon frozen orange juice concentrate
whipped cream

* Bring cider to a boil.
* Add sugar and stir until dissolved. remove from heat.
* Stir in rum, brandy, apple brandy, orange liquor, spices and salt. Stir in orange juice.
* Heat over medium heat, stirring, for two minutes.
* Pour into cups. (My favorite are the short clear glass cups with handles, although hot paper cups work just as good.)
* Top with a dollop (or more) whipped cream, and if desired, a stick of cinnamon.

I have noticed through the years that this recipe is very forgiving. If I don't have one of the ingredients, I can substitute with something similar, or just leave it out. And, it's always delicious.