It’s a real treat to sip this spicy holiday treat while shopping on a cold fall or winter’s day, and happily it is also a perfect seasonal non-alcoholic drink for holiday parties. It’s easy... to make. Just use cloudy unpasteurized non-alcoholic cider, and cook it with whole spices — not ground, which can make the cider murky-looking. Put the spices into a bag for easy removal, and experiment with the spices to find your preferred blend. No more sugar is needed as there’s plenty in the juice. By the way, if a slow cooker is available, use it for this recipe. It takes all thought out of it. Find the timing in Chef Tips.
Stud the orange all over with the cloves. Set aside. Place the star anise, ginger root, and allspice berries on a square of cheesecloth and tie to make a bag. This will secure the spices.
In large pot (at least 5 quarts), place the cinnamon sticks, orange studded with cloves, and the spice bag. Pour the cider over them. Bring to a low simmer over a medium-high heat. Cover, and lower the heat. Cook at a low simmer for 1½ to 2 hours. (See Chef Tips if using a slow cooker.)
When ready to serve, carefully remove the spice bag, cinnamon sticks, and the orange — the orange will be very soft. You may have to strain the cider if too many of the spices have escaped. Return to the stove and keep warm on a very low heat. Serve hot.
If a large slow cooker is available, follow recipe as above but cook for 4 hours.
Put the spices into a metal tea strainer if a big one is handy.