It’s recommended that you make this refreshing drink using a pretty large stock pot. Put the gallon of cider into the pot over medium heat so you are only simmering it. Don’t let it come to a boil.
Using an old bootlegger term, you “cut” the cider by stirring in two liters of Dr. Pepper (Pibb Xtra or similar store brand will work as well).
Next you stir in a box of Red Hots. This is the old-fashioned hard-shell kind that will melt more smoothly in the simmering pot. You are more likely to find this candy in a dollar store than a better-known supermarket.
Finally, toss in 5-6 cinnamon sticks to mull. Liz’s daughter advises against using ground cinnamon, as it will leave a residue in the pot and the cups in which the warm cider is served.
You should simmer this mixture for at least an hour; even longer won’t hurt anything. Again, don’t let this come to a full boil. It will spread a wonderful aroma around your home.
You’ll want to serve this while it’s warm, but to refrigerate, just let it cool and funnel-pour back into the cider jug and/or clean, dry milk jugs. An electric heated glass carafe works well for warming back up, or just heat in a saucepan on the stove.
You can serve it from a Crock-Pot using a ladle. A large and deep version of a heated chafing dish works well too. Add a special touch by putting a cinnamon stick into each cup or mug when serving this delightful drink.
Liz came up this treat decades ago, and I think it will become a generational tradition in your family as well.
Readers with questions or comments for Dave Kessler may write to him in care of this publication.