Seriously, this hot apple cider recipe is so delicious I just can't get enough of it.
I always make a gallon of it for parties in the fall and winter and I "taste test" it so often as it's warming that I'm in my very happy place by the time my guests arrive.
Oh, did I mention I like it spiked?
Several years ago I tested a lot of mulled cider recipes, took what I liked from each, and this was the result. Not only is it addictive, it's fool-proof too.
You really can't mess it up. And if, by some one in a trillion chance, you're not sure it tastes quite the way it's supposed to ... just go a little heavy-handed with a bottle of rum. Believe me, you'll get raves.
Place all of the ingredients into a large crockpot (or a large saucepan or Dutch oven) and stir.
Cover and heat on medium until the cider is completely heated through. This will probably take a couple of hours. Stir the mixture occasionally.
Once it's heated through, adjust the heat setting on the crockpot to low so your guests don't burn themselves when they take a sip.
Add a few slices of oranges and lemons to the pot if you like, along with 5 or 6 cinnamon sticks. Have some extra cinnamon sticks handy for garnishing the mugs.
Because I often have guests who don't drink alcohol, I leave a bottle of dark rum by my crockpot so that the guests who like their cider spiked can add it themselves. If you'd like to spike the whole recipe, add about a cup of rum to start with (just before serving time), and then adjust the amount from there.
Serves about 16-20.