I’m trying my hardest to enjoy hot drinks. I generally don’t reach for them or crave them, but I like to open up horizons to myself and delve into things I wouldn’t normally try. I have some other ideas I’m working on executing, but for now, I have this cranberry clementine cider. It’s great for holiday time, and has that clove warming sensation that feels perfect going down while there’s a snowstorm outside. As I’m writing this, it’s 60 degrees despite the fact that it’s January, but I have no control over global warming and can only speak from a seasonal perspective. This recipe makes enough servings for a small group of people--about 4 to 5--or a lot of servings for two people. That’s up to you. This works well hot or cold, but I surprisingly enjoyed it most straight out of the crockpot when it was finished. The recipe and instructions are straightforward, but it is time consuming. I simmered this for about 10 hours, and I know that’s a long time, but I needed to make sure I could really gauge the process correctly. I made this cider three separate times trying to get the measurements correct, and it took 10 hours to simmer each time, so it is what it is. You could probably get away with cooking this in 6 hours, possibly 5, but I wouldn’t rush it along any more than that. Just follow the visual cues I give below and you will be fine. The ingredients will tell you when it’s ready. Don’t force it though.
I understand that some people will want a boozy cider recipe. That isn’t my problem. I don’t drink and will never include alcoholic recipes on this blog. There is a wealth of information elsewhere on the internet that satisfies your interests if you’re looking for a recipe with alcohol. I do not create recipes with alcohol in mind. Do not ask me what I “would add” “if I drank”. I will never answer that question. Now, onto the recipe.
You will need:
12 oz cranberries
5 cups water
½ cup apple juice
juice of 7 clementines (save 4 rinds to put in pot)
sprinkling of toasted green cardamom pods
2 tsp cloves
4 dashes cinnamon
4 T brown sugar
crockpot or large pot
fine mesh strainer
You will need to toast some green cardamom pods first. It only takes a few minutes, and can be done in a small pan. I sprinkled a few (about 10-15) in the pan and toasted them on medium heat for a few minutes. The pods get noticeably light brown. This is when you remove them from the heat. They don’t need to be dark brown, just get a little brown color to them. You will be able to smell them when they’re ready, citrusy and aromatic.
Take all ingredients EXCEPT for brown sugar and apple juice, and place them into a crockpot or large pot and put on high. I used a crockpot because I had other things going on with my stovetop, and generally prefer using a crockpot for things like this that will simmer for awhile. I simmered this for 10 hours, so make sure you have that kind of time in advance.
Put these ingredients on high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Once brought to a continuous boil, remove clementine rinds, stir in apple juice and brown sugar and put on low heat. Simmer for hours, and watch the coloration of the cranberries. Once the cranberries are completely drained of color, turn off the crockpot heat and allow the flavors to continue blending. At this point, the contents of the pot will look almost hideous, the fruit looks like it’s met its match and gone through hell--a shell of what it once was. This is how you know it’s ready. Once cooled off, strain fruit and reserve liquid in large pitcher. Serve hot, refrigerate remainder. Drink refrigerated cider within 4-5 days.