One of my favorite drinks during the cold season is warm apple cider. I had my first warm apple cider at Bryant Park in NY few years ago while walking through the winter shops at the park. The warmth of the drink, the tart-sweet taste of the apples, and the flavor of cinnamon were more than enough to make me fall in love with this delicious lip-smacking beverage... so much so that I wait every year for the colder seasons to arrive so that I can enjoy many warm cups of apple cider.
Warm apple cider is a good tonic for the entire body, especially the lungs and large intestines in the autumn season. The apple juice in the cider keeps the lungs cool during the season (they tend to get very dry during this time of the year) and the spices give the body the right amount of warmth that is needed during the season. The spices also help the lungs stay clear off any pathogens that may affect it. Apple cider is also packed with fibre and spices that have anti-microbial properties and are good for digestion. It is a wonderful immune booster. So make sure you drink some this season.
Here's my recipe:
6 apples (for making cider - see note below)
3 cups water
1/2 inch piece of ginger - grated
2 cinnamon sticks
3 green cardamoms
1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
1 orange (optional)
1 lemon (optional)
1-1.5 tbsp. maple syrup
Juice the apples with water and pour the juice into a pot.
Add ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms, and garam masala powder.
Bring the apple juice to a boil. Let it cook for about 15 minutes.
The apple cider is ready. Strain it and taste it for sweetness. Add maple syrup to it only if you need to.
Taste it for tartness. Squeeze in some orange and lemon juice only if you need to.
The apple cider should be mildly tart and sweet. Serve hot or warm!
NOTE: Autumn is apple harvest season so the best way to get apples for the cider is to go to a farm nearby and pick your own apples. Since there are a variety of apples to choose from, it would be wise to ask a farm attendant to help you pick the best apples for cider. If you are at a farmer's market or super market, Gala apples would work well or a mix of Gala, Macintosh, and Granny smith apples.