Good cider is all very well when you’re hot, but a warming version of the same drink is just as welcome in winter. In the absence of sugar cubes, use regular sugar and slices of lemon or some lemon zest in the mix.
- 1.5 litres good-quality cider
- 1 tsp blade mace (see Note)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 8 native pepper berries (see Note)
- ½ tsp grated fresh nutmeg
- 10 sugar cubes
- 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp honey
- 5 tbsp brandy or apple brandy (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place 500 ml cider into a saucepan with mace, cinnamon, pepper and ¼ tsp nutmeg. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, rub sugar cubes all over the lemon rind to extract the oil. Add the sugar to the cider and stir to dissolve.
Add remaining cider and increase heat until mixture is just below boiling. Add honey, brandy and extra nutmeg, if desired. Strain to remove the whole spices if you prefer. Serve hot or warm.
• Blade mace, from selected spice shops, is the dried outer layer of the nutmeg seed. Substitute a reduced quantity of nutmeg.
• Native pepper berries are from selected spice shops. Substitute 4 black peppercorns.
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 11, pg38.
Photography by Alan Benson