Most people associate apple cider with fall festivals and pumpkins. However, in winter you can whip up a grown-up, spirituous delight to get you through those bitterly cold nights.
I was visiting my husband’s sister last winter in upstate New York, when she and my brother-in-law handed me what looked to be apple cider in a mason jar. She told me to try it, and it tasted like apple pie in a glass. Flavors of sugar, cinnamon and the faint taste of rum danced on my taste buds. Little did I know that I was drinking 190-proof alcohol!
I was completely surprised they had made what they called “moonshine,” but I was even more shocked that I couldn’t taste the alcohol. I’ve tried homemade concoctions before, and I think gasoline would be easier to swallow. Not with apple pie “moonshine.” The longer it ages, the smoother it becomes, because the sugar and cinnamon mask the alcohol taste almost completely. On the other hand, don’t be fooled. This is one potent drink! Trust me; if you’re looking to warm up on these cold winter nights, apple pie “moonshine” will certainly do the trick.
To make it, it’s important to use quality apple cider. To me, the best there is on Long Island is from the Jericho Cider Mill on Route 106 in Jericho. It has been owned by the Zulkofske family since 1938. They feature the freshest and most delicious cider around. If you can’t get to the mill, which is open daily until April, many specialty grocers on Long Island carry it.
Make a batch of Apple Pie “Moonshine” now, and you’ll have something delicious to enjoy by the fire next month. This makes a great gift too!
Apple Pie “Moonshine”
1 750-ml bottle of 190-proof Everclear. If you can’t get Everclear, use high proof vodka.
1- 2 cups Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, to taste
1 gallon apple cider
1 quart apple juice
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
10 cinnamon sticks, plus 6 extra for jars
1 large stock pot
6 quart-sized mason jars
Combine the cinnamon sticks, apple cider and apple juice in a large stock pot. Stir. Bring to a mild simmer and add the brown and white sugars. Slowly stir for about five to 10 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature for at least an hour. If you add the alcohol too soon, it can cook off.
Once the mixture is at room temperature, stir in the Everclear and one to two cups of rum. Pour the apple pie moonshine into clean mason jars and add a cinnamon stick. Cover. Store in the refrigerator 4-6 weeks before serving for maximum potency.