Project Credit: Bernzomatic Torchbearer Fresh Off the Grid
Whether you’re hunkered down next to a campfire or curled up next to an indoor fireplace, a warm cup of apple cider can really crank the coziness factor up to 11 this holiday season. With cinnamon, cloves, and clementine oranges, this is the perfect go-to winter cocktail. Especially if it’s freezing cold out, this drink can really take the edge off (in more ways than one.)
For this particular variation, we’ve added a bit of a seasonal flair: slices of caramelized apples for garnish. These “candied apple” slices are a delicious sweet & crunchy treat that can be enjoyed up front or saved for the end. And with the right tools, they’re very easy to make. Just cover a few apple slices with either brown or white sugar and give them a once over with a blowtorch. The sugars will melt, bubble, and coat the apple slices.
Why it works
‣ The heated sugar melts to form a crunchy and slightly-sticky caramel.
‣ If you’re using a blowtorch to start a fire (either at home or at a campsite), then why not use it toast up some apples and make your winter cocktail extra fancy?
Mastering the Technique
‣ For the garnish, you will want to light your torch (and adjust the flame) before pointing it at your food. Propane does not taste good. You will want to avoid unintentionally blowing any unlit fuel onto your food, otherwise it will be left with an unappetizing aftertaste.
‣ For the cider, use the loose whole cloves to stud the rind of the clementines. This will keep them attached to the fruit and out of your drink when it comes time to serve.
‣ The longer the apples, oranges, and spices simmer together, the more flavorful the cider will become.
MAKE THE CIDER: Pour the cider and whiskey in a large pot. Cut the clementines in half and press the cloves into the skin. Slice one of the apples. Add the clementines, apple slices, and cinnamon sticks to the pot with the cider. Simmer the cider over medium-low heat for at least a half hour.
MAKE THE CANDIED APPLE GARNISH: Right before serving, slice the second apple into thin wedges. Sprinkle the sugar over one side of each wedge to just coat the surface. Heat the sugar by holding the blowtorch a few inches above the apple slices and gently moving the flame from side to side until the sugar begins to bubble and turn a caramel color. Allow to cool until the sugars harden.
TO SERVE: Ladle the cider into cups and garnish each with a candied apple slice. Enjoy!