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This is a absolute favorite cocktail of mine during the holidays. Right on the stove so the entire house smells like Christmas. Now the best part is, if you don't keep a lot of alcohol around the house but still want to make the recipe, buy the smaller bottles. They have the little travelers size and the small nips (I call them airplane bottles), I think everyone knows what I mean. Now it is already non-alcoholic, so it is a great drink for everyone since the alcohol is added at the end. The juice does reduce a little, so you don't end up with as much as you think. For a party of 8, and everyone is drinking, I usually double this batch. It is great chilled over ice as well for any leftovers. You can always keep this warm in a crock pot too which makes it good for parties. Try adding some sparkling wine or non alcohol wine to this after it is chilled for a nice light cocktail if you don't want it warm. Note: you can make a pretty presentation by making a small tray with the crock pot, mugs, a bowl of the cranberries, oranges slices and a small pitcher of the rum brandy mixture and people can help themselves. I do that quite often and always goes over good. I always serve one once, so people can see how I do it, and then they know how to put it together.
- 8 cups apple cider (not apple juice, it really makes a difference)
- 3 cups cranberry juice (100% pure cranberry)
- 1 cup orange juice (no pulp, but fresh, I just use 2-3 fresh whole oranges and juiced them myself, strained the pulp out)
- 1⁄4 cup honey
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 4 whole cloves
- 4 orange strips (peel long strips off the orange part, don't get the white it is bitter)
- 1 cup dark rum (not Myers dark rum, but any golden or Barcadi Rum for example)
- 1⁄2 cup brandy
- fresh cranberries
- 1 orange, cut in half and thin sliced
- Base -- In a big pot, just mix on medium low heat the orange juice, apple cider, cranberry juice, honey, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and orange strips. Note, if using your fresh oranges for your orange juice, peel off the orange strips before you squeeze your orange, it is so much easier. I just took a knife and peeled a few long strips.
- Simmer -- On medium low heat for about 25 minutes uncovered. This can also go into a crock pot and cooked 1 hour on high or med for about 2 hours and low for about 3, just until warm. All crock pots are a bit different, so just check until nice and hot.
- Serve -- Take a strainer or slotted spoon to remove the cloves and cinnamon sticks from the cider. Then mix the brandy and rum in a measuring cup so you just pour a little into each cup as you serve them. Add a few cranberries and a orange slice to the bottom of your mug, a good shot or so of the brandy/rum mixture and top with the cider. A great drink for the whole family. ENJOY!