2 tablespoons butter or margarine
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
8 to 10 cups apple cider or juice
1 to 2 cups dark rum
8 to 10 cinnamon sticks (about 31/2 in. each; optional)
In a 1-1 1/2-quart pan over medium heat, stir butter until melted. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice; stir. Add sugar. Remove from heat; mix well.
In a 4-5 quart pan over high heat, bring cider to a boil, about 15 minutes.
Combine butter mixture and hot cider in a pitcher or thermos. To serve, pour hot spiced cider into mugs (12 oz.) and to each add 2 to 3 tablespoons rum, to taste. Stir with cinnamon sticks or spoons.
Makes 8-10 servings.
To make hot spiced cider, omit rum. Up to 1 week ahead, make spiced butter-sugar mixture (step 1); cool, cover, and chill.
Put hot spiced cider in a thermos; carry rum separately at room temperature.
Date: September 11, 2002