Photographer: todd zawistowski
Mulled cider for a Northern Michigan winter's eve.
2 quarts local apple cider
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 one-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into V-inch disks
1 orange (unpeeled)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 star anise pods
Black Star Farms Spirit of Apple Brandy (optional)
Toast the dry spices over medium low heat in a dry pan for about two minutes, let cool and place in a spice bag or cheese cloth pouch.
Combine the cider, orange, ginger, brown sugar and spice bag in a 4-quart heavy-bottomed pot or crock pot, bring to a low simmer and simmer for one to two hours, making sure not to boil.
Serve in mugs with 1 K ounces of apple brandy (if desired). Serves eight to 10.