Satsuma Cider

A bonus recipe!  Merry Christmas from your Galley Pirates.  One of my favorite perks of the holidays down south is the arrival of Satsumas — sort of really big , easy-to-peel mandarin oranges, they ripen with the arrival of Thanksgiving and Christmas and make a nice, seasonal but fresh and fruity break between the hams and turkeys of the month.  Tonight I pulled a bunch from the hammock for a marmalade to put on thick, juicy pork chops and brewed up a mulled cider on the side.  So tune in tomorrow for the main dish, but enjoy a mocktail or cocktail in anticipation now.

Satsuma Cider

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8 cups high-quality pure, unsweetened apple juice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
½ teaspoon whole cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

4 to 5 small satsumas
Bourbon or seltzer

To make the mulled cider: In a medium pot, combine the first six ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Once this smells gloriously spicy, remove from the heat and let it cool.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a jar. (Lacking a fine-mesh sieve, a coffee filter in a collapsible funnel worked fine!)  This concentrate will keep in the icebox for a couple weeks.

When ready to serve, add ice to the glass, along with one shot of whiskey for the drinkers or an equal or slighter greater amount of seltzer for the mocktailers. Pour in the mulled cider and thoroughly squeeze in a generous half of a satsuma. Garnish with a fresh slice, cinnamon sticks from the cider, a sprig of rosemary, or whatever suits your holiday fancy.  Cheers!

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