During the winter, when the temperatures are just freezing, is actually my favorite time of year to entertain at home. People tend to stay a bit longer, the food is very comforting and hearty, and everyone can relax and have a really good time! When my guests arrive, I offer them a hot cocktail to warm them up and make them feel right at home – and it gives me time to put the finishing touches on dinner. My Cointreau Winter Cider is filled with aromatic spices, lime juice to cut the sweetness, and has an orange boozy kick from Cointreau (that is sure to warm you up!)! Best of all it can be made in advance so there is no mixing or shaking individual drinks – which leaves more time for me to enjoy the soirée, too!
Cointreau Winter Cider
Ingredients (serves 8)
Apple Cider – 32 ounces
Fresh Lime Juice – 6 ounces, freshly squeezed
Cinnamon Sticks – 2, plus more for garnish if desired
Star Anises – 2, whole
Cloves – 2, whole
Oranges – 2, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish if desired
Granny Smith Apple – 1, cored, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish if desired
Cointreau (orange liqueur) – 12 ounces
In a large saucepan set over medium heat, add all of the ingredients except for the Cointreau.
Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, add the Cointreau, cover and steep for 20 minutes.
Fill heat-proof glasses or mugs with hot cider, garnish with extra cinnamon sticks, and serve.
Tip: If you would like to make this in advance, after the cider is finished steeping, remove the fruit and spices, and store the finished cider in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you are ready to serve, gently re-heat the cider in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and serve hot.