As a child in my household, come December, my first moment of morning wakefulness would be full of the tantalizing aroma of spiced apple cider. Though this concoction was potable, we rarely drank apple cider; instead, my mother simmered her stovetop spiced apple cider each day to fill our home with this pungent scent of the season. Spiced apple cider is an iconic fall and winter treat, and in our household it always reminds us that Christmas is near! The family recipe consists of readily available ingredients.
Now, you can drink this if you want, but I suggest you flavor it to your liking rather than plopping all of the following ingredients into your saucepan. You will need a jar of apple cider, a bottle of cinnamon sticks (whole), and a small bottle of cloves (whole). (If you have a juicer you could also juice fresh red apples instead of purchasing apple cider). Pour the apple cider into a sauce pan, add all of the cinnamon sticks and the cloves to the cider. Turn the stovetop setting to high and bring the cider to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to low and let the cider simmer for an hour. Your home should now smell of spiced apple cider! If you want, try adding a couple of thinly cut orange slices.
We actually leave the saucepan and cider on the stovetop all December. (Note: If you leave the cider on the stove to scent your home, do not drink it). Every day, whenever we intend to be home, especially while dining or doing Christmas activities like games, gift wrapping and tree decorating, we reboil and simmer the cider to refresh the smell. If your cider begins to evaporate, simply add more cider before the cinnamon sticks have a chance to burn or stick to the saucepan. A film may develop on the surface, just scrape it off and keep reheating! I buy my cider in a quart jar and that lasts about two weeks. So every December I go through about 2 bottles of cider.