Warm spiced apple toddy

Apple and spices

Apple and spices

You know what’s really lacking from this blog? Beverages! Last night I held a Winter Feast at my place. It was planned and discussed like a military operation. I wanted to have a few courses and fickle as the breeze, I kept changing my mind on what to cook.

How often do people have proper dinner parties these days? It seems that in Sydney, everyone goes out for a meal rather than inviting people over. As someone not blessed with a dishwasher, I completely understand how much easier that is. However, I cooked a winter themed meal last year and thought I’d do it again. I printed a little menu as a cute touch to place on everyone’s plate and even moved my dining table to another space so I had room to prepare and cook in my kitchen/dining area. The night before and on the day, I had a task list and time deadlines to ensure I didn’t forget anything. The control freak in me really came out to play.

The menu

The menu

Don’t worry, the evening itself was far more relaxed and we ate, laughed and had incredibly inappropriate conversations until after 1am. It was really a rollickin’ good night and I was relieved that the table dynamic worked so well. That’s what I get most nervous about when I have people over. Awkward silence at the dinner table really kills the party mood. During last night’s shenanigans, I was talked into a couple more themed meals later in the year with the same group. I guess that’s what I get for being the rare, enthusiastic cook amongst my friends.

As a welcome drink, I made a spiced apple toddy; basically a mulled apple juice to which everyone added brandy to their liking. It was spicy in a way that tickled the back of your throat and made my whole place smell like apple pie.

Serve in a carnival themed paper cup for extra fun!

Serve in a carnival themed paper cup for extra fun!

You can mix the brandy into the pot but I wanted to let everyone add as much or as little as they liked to their own cup. The flavours do seem to meld better if you stir the brandy in before serving. To make the drink look more festive, you can throw in a sliver of fresh apple and a few dried cranberries into each cup.

Feeds: 12 people
Start cooking: 1 hour before serving

Warm spiced apple toddy

Ingredients:

  • 3 litres x apple juice
  • 1 cup x water
  • 1 x apple, quartered
  • 2 x cinnamon quills
  • 10 x cloves
  • 12 x cardamon pods
  • 2 x inch wide strips of lemon peel
  • 1/2 x star anise
  • 50 grams x fresh ginger, peeled
  • Brandy, to taste

Method:

  1. Lightly crush the cardamon pods and fresh ginger.
  2. Place all ingredients into a large pot and simmer over low heat for one hour.
  3. Stir in desired amount of brandy (I recommend 1-2 cups) and serve hot. You can also choose to provide brandy on the side instead.
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