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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Spiced beverage "starter" (or, how to make the spicey part of spiced apple cider in advance)

I shared this on facebook a couple of weeks ago. But because I know not all of you do facebook, I thought I would share it here, as well, simply because I've enjoyed having this in my fridge this autumn. I think of it as a spiced beverage "starter".

You may be wondering why I don't just simmer drinks like cider with the spices in them. Obviously, there's the instant factor that I appreciate. But more importantly to me, is pre-infusing some water with the spices, then adding the cider or juice for a brief heating, helps retain heat-sensitive nutrients, like vitamin C.

It's all of the yummy spices of autumn, infused in water, strained, then stored in the fridge. I use the infusion to add spice to hot apple cider, or make a spiced tea with Dollar Tree black tea bags, some apple juice and a spoonful of sugar or honey.

I've been using whole cloves, ground cinnamon (sticks would be nice, but cost more for me) and some allspice berries.

I make this infusion, either in a single cup, in the microwave, to enjoy right away or I make an entire pan of it, and keep in the refrigerator, for impromptu mugs of spiced drinks. Making this "starter" is an easy way for me to have an expensive-tasting drink at dollar store prices.

To make infusion, by the mug:
I put 1/4 teaspoon of whole cloves (or 2 pinches ground cloves)
2 or 3 whole allspice berries (or pinch of ground allspice)
and a 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick (I use 1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon) 
into about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water.

I microwave in 25 second intervals, about 3 times, and allowing 2 or 3 minutes in between intervals, for steeping. I remove any whole spices with a spoon, and either add a black tea bag and apple juice and water, for an apple-spice black tea, or, I fill the mug with apple cider and a bit of honey or sugar, for hot spiced cider, and heat all, as needed.

While making this one mug at a time has been nice, I also really appreciate making a pint of the spiced infusion, for several days of spiced beverages, made easy.

For a pint of spiced infusion:
I put 3 cups of water into a stainless saucepan,
along with 1 tablespoon of whole cloves,
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (or 2 whole sticks of cinnamon), and
1/2 teaspoon of allspice berries.

I allow this to heat, just below a simmer, on the stove for about 1 hour, until reduced by about 1/3 in the saucepan. It makes the house smell fantastic, by the way!

Then I pour it through a strainer, into a glass jar, and keep in the refrigerator. It has been keeping just fine, for over a week, for me. Spiced beverage "starter" just waiting for my cuppa.

To use: pour about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of infusion into a mug or cup, and add black tea, and/or apple cider, along with about a teaspoon of honey or sugar, if desired. Heat in the microwave.

I'm enjoying this for my own personal cups of apple-spiced tea, but it's also been nice to add to a family meal for the crowd, at the last minute. Hope you enjoy!


  1. Thank you for this recipe! I can't wait to try it.

    1. Hi Renee,
      I hope you enjoy this!
      Have a great day!

  2. I might try this but I'm a bit confused about the recipe.

    For the mug: 1/4 cup water with the spices is used entirely for one mug's worth by filling the rest of the way up with hot steeped tea, apple juice or cider, right?

    For the larger quantity: The entire mixture is made but then do you use 1/4 cup of that mixed in with steeped tea, apple juice or cider to fill the rest of the cup?


    1. Hi Alice,
      Thanks for asking, I'll clear that up in the post. Yes, with just a mug, infuse the small amount of water with spices, then add cider, and/or tea, and heat briefly.

      With the larger quantity, then put about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the infusion into a mug, with just a little sweetening, if desired, then fill the rest of each cup with apple cider, and/or black tea, and heat in the microwave. Hope that makes it clearer.

      Have a great day, Alice.

  3. Sounds wonderful! I am wishing for fall :) and you I am
    sure your wishing for sun. Have a lovely day.

    1. Hi Patti,
      I'll wish for fall to come your way, soon, too!
      After this month, here, I'm wishing to pack up and move south, maybe to Arizona! I'm sure I've got moss growing on my north side.

      Have a wonderful day, Patti!


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