Growing up we would always host a huge Christmas party at my house every December. I remember helping my mom prepare weeks in advance, baking every kind of cookie you can fathom, cutting vegetables for platters, and having a huge pot of simmering cider on the stove top.
My Mamma's Apple Cider
makes 2 quarts
1 large orange
4 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup whole cloves
1 tsp lemon juice
2 quarts (8 cups) organic unsweetened apple juice
cheesecloth or cloth bags
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Insert cloves (about 1/2 inches apart) into orange, place in shallow baking pan and bake for 30 min.
2.Once orange is baked, pierce with knife in several places. In a large sauce pan combine apple juice, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks (in cheesecloth) and baked orange. Simmer covered for about 30 min. (the longer you simmer the more prominent the spices become) Remove orange and sticks and drain using a fine mesh strainer if needed.
3.Serve in a heatproof punch bowl, can serve cold or mix with club soda for sparkling cider.