Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hot Spiced Apple Cider with Bourbon

I'm the lamest cooking blogger ever.  I mean, we just finished the most epic cooking/eating holiday ever and I have nothing to show for it besides a measly little cocktail (figures, huh?).  I had 2 Thanksgivings in 2 cities with 19 total family members and 6 dogs.  There were dozens of dishes that were lovingly prepared and scarfed down as if we hadn't eaten in years.  And through all of this, I took 0 pictures and will blog about a total of 0 Thanksgiving dishes.  Sorry.  It was all really good, and I'll try harder next year.

BUT!  Thanksgiving and the weekend following it was lovely and tons of fun.  Some highlights (in chronological order so people don't think I'm rating family memories in terms of fun-ness):

1) Going to happy hour at a retirement home.  Did you know some retirement homes have bars in them?  And that between 4:30 and 6 every night, you can have 2 free drinks?  Who says getting old is hard?

2)  Throwing classiness to the wind and eating buffalo chicken dip as an appetizer for Thanksgiving.  Sure, it was a little out of place next to baked brie and a lovely Pinot Noir, but who's counting?

3) My husband's grandmother preparing a centerpiece for the serving table and including a neon patterned Nerf football made for dogs along with the flowers and greens.  In her defense, it did fit into the vase perfectly and the colors did kind of match.  Like the sweet people we are, we pointed and whispered and laughed.  And then left it there for the duration of the evening.

4) My dear, sweet Dad insisting upon sleeping on an air mattress in the study so his obnoxious offspring and their mangy pets could have the comfy beds in the house (HIS house, mind you).  And then one of said mangy pets leaving a little "nugget" on the floor of his study, right underneath when the air mattress goes.  And, one noticed the nugget until the next morning and we found it squished onto the bottom of the mattress.  At least it was the bottom, right?  Silver lining.

5) Spending an afternoon at a local winery with a friend.  The lady running the tasting room had a heavy hand and, like me, seemed to appreciate a healthy pour.  Free wine is always good in my book, especially when its enjoyed on a mountaintop with fried oysters and good company.

6) Nightly card games between several of the most competitive people on earth.  We duke it out for who gets deemed the sorest loser...its hard to choose just one.

All jokes aside, I had a moment on Saturday where I literally thought to myself, "life can't get any better than this".  I feel very blessed indeed and wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's.  Because the one I have is a darn good time and I have the best family and friends a girl could ask for.  So, let's have some bourbon!

I don't know where I even got the idea to make apple cider bourbon drinks, but I sure am glad it came to me.  This was so easy and delicious.  We felt so fancy drinking these bad boys!

Hot Spiced Apple Cider with Bourbon
Source: my own recipe

1/2 gallon apple cider
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tbsp nutmeg
1/2 tbsp ground cloves
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 lemon, sliced
8 oz. good bourbon (recommend Knob Creek)

cinnamon and sugar combined on a small plate

Combine apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar, honey, and lemons in a crock pot, and heat on low for a couple of hours.  Leave on low to keep warm.

Wet the rim of a rocks glass with lemon juice and dip into cinnamon sugar mixture.  Add 1 ounce (or more if you like) of bourbon to glass, and then carefully pour hot cider in to mix.  Enjoy immediately.  And then again.

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