Apples and maple syrup are Maine’s superstar ingredients. And even if the drink is more traditionally associated with fall or winter, there is no other comforting feeling than diving deep into a hot mug of apple cider in the middle of a chilly early spring day.
When the early settlers from Europe arrived with a long history of Apple cider making (i.e. with alcohol) they saw in this drink a perfect alternative to beer. While the latter was the clear favorite at the time, it turns out apples are much easier to grow in New England and with no need for brewing process, colonists quickly settled to become avid cider aficionados. The long tradition of cider in New England, hard or not, is believed to come from those days. In the recipe below, we’ll explore the mulled version of the drink and add a hint of Maple syrup to it.
Yield: 6-7 comforting mugs
1/4 cup Maple syrup (adjust to taste)
1 inch fresh Ginger
1 tbs ground Nutmeg
10-12 whole Cloves
2 Cinnamon sticks
6 cups Water
To speed up the process without losing on the depth of flavours, I use
a pressure cooker in this recipe as well . Same as the previous recipe (delicious corn chowder!), if you don’t have one or don’t want to use it, you can simply opt for a more traditional method on the stovetop in which you simmer everything for about 2 hours or slow-cook for 6-8h.
While I was researching methods on how to make the best lobster broth out there, I came across a few books and blogs that recommended to crush the shell as finely as possible in order to maximize how much flavor is infused during the cooking. I decided to apply the same logic here and blend the entire apples and spices finely before putting the liquid in my Instant-pot.
A lot of recipes call for high quality apple cider but I don’t think you are saving that much time while you’ll get something equally good for a fraction of the price by using, you know…real apples. Set the pressure on high for at least 25 minutes (and up to an hour). Once cooked, turn the valve to relieve pressure through the quick release method.
Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer, pushing the pulp through to extract as much goodness as you can from it.
Pimp your mug
For a boozy “after-ski” feeling, drop a shot of rum (aged rum is the best)
in your mug or pick whiskey to add a more smoky taste.
If on the other hand you want the ultra comfort drink version, stir a teaspoon of butter in your mug. It’s extra delicious.