Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hostess with the mostest

Typically, I’m not much of a party host. Not because I have annoying roommates or I secretly live with my grandparents, or anything. Rather, my apartment is the size of a large shoebox and the limited seating situation means that guests that number more than eight are relegated to the floor. So when I decided to play host last night to about a dozen grad school friends, I was naturally a little anxious. In an effort to get them to immediately forget about their lame seating accommodations, I felt the need to overcompensate by serving intoxicatingly delicious beverages.

My drink of choice: the deceptively simple spiced rum and hot cider.

I scoured the intertubes for a recipe that would meet my expectations. Luckily, there are hundreds -- most of which have an estimated prep time of approximately 10 minutes. The ingredients vary depending on your preference. In addition the most basic elements of rum, cider, and cinnamon, you can accent the drink with: orange slices, cranberry juice, apples with cloves, apples without cloves, lemon wedges, ginger, wine, brown sugar, butter, honey....and even milk.

I stuck with the basics: cider, spiced rum, cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and one freshly squeezed orange. The preparation is about as simple as it gets. (For all you lazy hosts out there, this one's for you!). Combine all the ingredients, minus the rum, into a medium-sized pot. Let it come to a simmer and then remove from heat. Add the rum and serve -- preferably with a cinnamon stick for some added flavor.

Needless to say, all party-goers were quite happy regardless of where we were sitting.

One recipe can be found here:

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

* 1 apple
* 2 teaspoons whole cloves
* 1 orange, thinly sliced
* 2 quarts apple cider
* 1/2 cup light brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon allspice
* Pinch grated nutmeg
* 1 cup dark rum
* Cinnamon sticks, garnish


1. Stud the apple with the cloves.
2. In a medium pot, combine the studded apple and remaining ingredients except the rum.
3. Slowly bring to a simmer over low heat.
4. Simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and add the rum.
6. Discard the apple.
7. Ladle into mugs and garnish each with a cinnamon stick.
8. Serve immediately.

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