When the weather turns chilly, blankets, fireplaces and warm drinks are often sought out to provide comfort. I haven’t had a fire place, so I’ve relied on blankets, warm drinks and my sauna to take away the chill. Hot Herb Cider is a delicious warm addition to some of my favorite teas: ginger, rooibos, green and tulsi. Another warm drink I love to include in my fall and winter days is warm Golden Milk.
I keep teas and the golden milk spice blend on hand to have regularly, but I also like to doctor up unsweetened apple cider with cranberries, elderberries, cinnamon and herbs to make a warm herb cider that boosts the immune system and tastes wonderful. It also makes a lovely holiday drink. The benefits of the added ingredients make it desirable as a preventative measure during the cold and flu season.
Cranberries have been studied and shown to improve immune response, lower blood pressure and inflammation, and prevent certain types of cancer. They are a super source of antioxidants, vitamins B & C, minerals and fiber. Incorporating cranberries into your diet through drinks like this one or added to oatmeal, smoothies or blended with raspberries, orange and chia seeds to make a spread are ways to eat more of them and add these beneficial nutrients.
Elderberries have been used for hundreds of years to ease cold, flu and respiratory symptoms and improve immune response. They are high in potassium, calcium, vitamins A & C, and fiber. Elderberries should be cooked before using. In this recipe they are boiled in the cider. Elderberries are not readily available, but you might be able to find them at a fall farmers market or in the dried bulk herb section in health food stores. If not here’s an amazon link for dried elderberries I’ve used.
Cinnamon has been studied and shown to help lower blood sugar, cut risk of heart disease, is high in polyphenol antioxidants, and acts as a potent anti inflammatory.
Rosemary is a hardy herb that is a known source of antioxidants, iron, calcium and vitamin B-6. Traditionally it’s been used to alleviate muscle pain, improve memory and concentration, boost immune and circulatory function, reduce inflammation, and improve digestion and eye health. If you don’t grow your own herbs, you can usually find fresh herbs in the produce section of the grocery store.
Thyme is another hardy Mediterranean herb that has beneficial properties and has been used over the years to improve many symptoms. Thyme has strong antimicrobial properties that are effective against infectious bacteria. It has been studied and shown to be protective against certain cancers and is affective against the overgrowth of candida. It is also helpful for acne when used as a face wash or the oil added to face cream. Try infusing water or tea with added thyme sprigs.
Let me know if you try this cider.
Hot Herb Cider
- 4 cups unsweetened apple or cherry cider
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup cranberries fresh or frozen
- 1/4 cup elderberries dried or fresh (optional)
- 2 cinnamon sticks or 1 teaspoon of ground
- 2 sprigs rosemary fresh (1T dried)
- 2 sprigs thyme fresh (1 tsp dried)
- Combine all in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain and serve warm. Reserve the berries and herbs*.
- Store in a glass jar for up to a week.