Mulled cider in your slow cooker? You bet!

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If you’re still planning your holiday dinner and drinks, we have the perfect large-batch, easy cocktail to add to the menu!

 

This recipe for slow cooker mulled cider from American Pecans not only makes enough for a crowd, but it’s easy to throw together and stays warm in a slow cooker. It has nearly all the flavors of the season, combining apple cider with star anise, ginger and cranberries — then adds in a dessert-y twist by adding caramel and pecans to the rim of each glass.

 

The drink would be great served at a party as it can be first made without alcohol, then guests can add (holiday) spirits to their individual glasses if they choose. American Pecans suggests bourbon, dark rum, white wine or caramel-flavored or regular vodka. Just make sure you prepare the rim of glasses ahead of time and you have an easy, do-it-yourself winter cocktail.

 

Here’s the full recipe.

Slow Cooker Mulled Cider with Caramel Pecan Rim

For the mulled cider:
1 1/2 liters fresh apple cider
4 pieces star anise
1 orange thinly sliced, divided (half of the slices used on serving glasses and half for the cider)
1/2 lime, thinly sliced
1 inch knob of ginger, skin removed
1 cup fresh cranberries

 

For the pecan caramel rim:
1 cup raw pecan pieces, finely chopped or ground
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
Pinch of sea salt

Optional alcohol add-ins:
Bourbon, 2 ounces per glass
Dark rum, 2 ounces per glass
White wine, to taste
Caramel vodka or regular vodka, 2 ounces per glass

  1. Place all mulled cider ingredients into a slow cooker. Heat on low for four hours.
  2. While cider cooks, make a batch of caramel. Place coconut milk, vanilla, butter and sea salt into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and let simmer, whisking often, for about 30 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in the refrigerator until the cider is ready.
  3. Once cider is done, pour caramel onto a small, shallow plate. On a separate shallow plate, place crushed pecans. Dip your glass of choice in the caramel until the entire rim is well covered, then dip the caramel rim into the pecan mixture.
  4. Pour mulled cider into glasses and spike your drink with the desired alcohol if using, stir and let the evening be merry and bright!

Other Holiday Cocktails

Mulled cider not your idea of a tasty holiday cocktail? We’ve got plenty of other festive cocktail recipes you may want to check out instead.

 

There’s the Snowflake Martini, which is made with vanilla-flavored vodka, peppermint schnapps, white chocolate liqueur and cream, while the Sugar Cookie Martini also calls for vanilla vodka, plus amaretto and sugar cookie- or vanilla-flavored coffee creamer.

 

If you’re a margarita fan, there are also a handful of Mistletoe Margarita recipes that can turn what is traditionally a summer drink into a winter treat. Just combine tequila with seasonal flavors like cranberry or pomegranate juice and top them with sugared cranberries and a sprig of rosemary or mint.

 

What is your favorite holiday drink?

 

This article originally appeared on Simplemost and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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Christmas shopping last minute? Here’s how to deal

 

Christmas, if you celebrate, is right around the corner. Whether you have a tiny number of gifts yet to buy, or if you haven’t started yet, don’t add procrastination to your list of holiday stressors, last-minute Christmas shopping won’t be as bad as you fear as long as you keep a few things in mind.

 

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Be mindful of shipping times and shipping fees. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, don’t assume that everything will arrive in two days. Every item in your cart will have its own delivery date, so check each one carefully.  Amazon is also offering free shipping to non-Prime members, but that is ground shipping.  Look at those delivery dates in your cart before proceeding to checkout.

Other retailers, like Target, will be offering free shipping on all orders – or with a minimum requirement – but while some will be offering expedited shipping, some will be shipped ground. If you don’t have 5-7 business days to spare, you may need to pay extra for expedited shipping (or drag your butt to the store). Be sure to use a browser extension to save as you shop online.

If you need to hit the stores, here are some steps to take before you head out:

 

Make a list, and not in your head – It’ll be hectic out there and you’ll want to stay on track. Use a note-taking app on your phone, or an old-fashioned piece of paper will do!

 

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It’s OK to treat yourself to a little item or two, but remember, you have gifts to buy. Obviously, if you find a great deal on something you need for the house, stock up, but a shopping free-for-all will only end up in a fat credit card bill come January. While you’re at it, don’t forget to tip – or get small gifts for – your favorite service providers.

 

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If you have limited time due to your work schedule, check store hours. You’ll find that many stores open early and stay open late to accommodate shoppers like yourself. Or call in sick and make a day of it – just don’t post pics of you shopping on Facebook.

 

 

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If your recipients haven’t asked for something specific, try taking a stroll downtown or going to a pop-up holiday market. You’ll be more likely to find something really unique.  And, it’ll be fun!

Whether you are shopping online or in-store, don’t get swept away by deep discounts. What I mean by that is that while deep discounts are enticing; remember that 50% off still means that you are spending 50%. If a discount can be applied to the items on your list, go for it, but otherwise, walk away.

 

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The following may be the only options left, but they’re still good ones.

 

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Purchase digital gift cards online and e-mail them to your recipient. If you purchase through a platform like GiftCardGranny, you can save anywhere from 2-30% on your gift cards and your recipient will never know you saved.

If you prefer to give a physical card, grocery stores and drugstore chains, like Rite Aid or Walgreens, will have lots of gift cards available for retailers like Target, Barnes & Noble, Macy’s, iTunes and more.

 

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Museum or zoo memberships and/or a subscription to a favorite magazine are always appreciated!

 

Subscription Boxes – From snacks to toys to beauty products or clothes, there’s a subscription box for every interest.

 

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If you’re at least a half-decent baker, whip up a batch of your “famous” cookies or muffins and package them in a gift box or tin.

 

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Pick something up at the liquor store. Most liquor stores even carry decent gift bags that you can purchase in a pinch.

 

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Your local drugstore chain, like CVS or Walgreens, will often offer photo gifts that can be ready within the hour. Order in-store or online.

Happy holidays and happy shopping!

This article originally appeared on TraeBodge.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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Featured Image Credit: ChamilleWhite / iStock.

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