Introduction: Party in a Jar, Party in My Mouth Spiced Apple Cider...seriously
This recipe is awesome and freakin' easy which is nice as I have the attention span of a gnat. It's so easy in fact that it can be made flawlessly while intoxicated. Please don't burn yourself. It tastes like a cross between apple pie, unicorn sparkle puree and other funny made up things. It can be served hot or cold and it makes an excellent gift for people who have everything...pssh (eye roll). Adding a little booze (or not) makes for a great New Year's Eve treat as you watch that weird crystal ball drop.
And, and...you can use some of the "waste" or leftover giblets to make some pretty cool things. More about that in step 8.
- Apple juice (1 g.)
- Apple juice concentrate (2 8 oz. cans)
- 3 honey crisp apples (peeled)
- 3-4 Cinnamon sticks
- 1 can-do attitude
- 0 broccoli
- 2 crushed star anise pods
- Other apple varieties: gala or granny smith apples are good
- 191 or 151 proof Everclear to really crank things up (or something similar if you're in a state that bans Everclear)
- Rum is also a good choice for some (ahem...I don't like rum)
- 1 drop of 1,000,000 proof alcohol (just kidding)
- Whatever size mason jars you want to use that add up to a little more than 1 gallon
- 2 large pots
- Apple peeler & corer (or just peel it by hand)
- Cutting board
- Mixing spoon
Step 1: Peel Apples and Crush Star Anise
Make those apples wish they were never born by skinning them and then add insult to injury by using their skins to give yourself Bob Marley dreads while pretending to smoke the core like a cigar. So humiliating! Skinning is optional but releases more juice than leaving it peeled.
Crush the star anise with the back of a wooden spoon or use your fist if want to keep your friends guessing what the weird iron taste is. Yes, star anise is sharp...like a knife.
So...in case you don't know what star anise tastes/smells like and you don't want to use the Google machine, I'll tell you right here. Ahem. The best way to describe star anise is comparing it to a cross between black licorice jelly beans or Good & Plenty candy and teaberry (a.k.a. wintergreen mint). Now, you're probably thinking, "Wait, isn't there a thing called licorice root. Isn't that what's used to make licorice?" Yep, licorice root is a thing. But no, star anise is the primary flavoring ingredient in "licorice" (so they're labeled) candies as well as other artificial flavors. Pure licorice root and its extract tastes like a combination of mud, tree bark and tires that recently rolled through mud.
WARNING! Do not use too much star anise in this delicious beverage as using too much will make it less apple-cinnamony and more star anisey like it came straight from the Good & Plenty factory. Star anise is meant to compliment the cinnamon, not take it over like Sparta!
Step 2: Throw Everything in a Pot to Boil
Yep, do that.
Stir occasionally to give you something to do.
Step 3: Put a Lid on It and Simmer Down Now
At this point, the apples are either dead or really mad. Tell them to cool it by having them simmer on low for 10 minutes. Think of it as an apple timeout.
Step 4: Meanwhile...
Wash and choose your mason jars
Step 5: Let Cool
Once the apples have de-escalated, give them about an hour to further cool off and think about what they did.
Step 6: Now Strain
Strain the mixture into another pot.
Step 7: Pour Into Mason Jars
Use a funnel so you don't make a mess all over the place. Get that delicious cider you just made into mason jars and give them to people as gifts or just hog it for yourself.
DONE! Pat on the back for you!
Step 8: Oh, Before You Go...OTHER FUN THINGS!
So now you have a bunch of soggy leftover apples. Why not make some apple sauce? I made some the other day and suddenly I felt 4 again. It was awesome!
You also have a whole bunch of left over star anise. Use it to freshen your breath. Gnaw on it a little, nibble it...hell, swallow it for all I care. Absorb it's flavor via your taste buds, bud!
And the cinnamon is just cinnamon, enjoy it.