I started writing this back in December but got distracted and never got around to finishing it. Now that I'm coming back from death's door (mad props to Aaron for stepping up and taking over care of the babies this week, by the way) this sounds SO wonderfully soothing and delicious. And yes, it should have been posted before Christmas, but there's still a lotta winter left, my friends. Bust out that crockpot!
When I was growing up, there was a weekend each November when our home became a holiday boutique. It started off small, only taking over our front room. Eventually, as more people added in their own crafty efforts, it grew to fill most of the house.
These are sparkly, warm, cinnamon scented memories for my sister and me. I'm sure it was a ridiculous amount of work for my mom but for two little girls that weekend was always heaven. Our house was transformed and filled with white tablecloths and beautiful things. A dear family friend always made her blue ribbon caramels to sell and we spent most of the weekend snatching samples. There was jewelry and handmade dolls and beautiful Christmas decorations among many many other things.
My mom always made this mulled cider for people to sip while they shopped. It has been at least twelve years since the last boutique but the smell of this cider still feels like a bit of a time warp for me. One whiff and BAM. I'm 10 and lusting after something glittery and appliqued with lace.
This can be made in a large saucepan or in a crock pot. I prefer the crock pot, but mostly because it's tradition (and it keeps it nice and toasty).
1 gallon apple cider
1-2 pints cranapple juice
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
honey to taste
Heat apple cider and cranapple juice in a saucepan/crockpot. Add cinnamon, cloves, and honey. Simmer 20-25 minutes. Strain out the cinnamon and cloves. Add orange slices. Serve.