Smoky Mulled Cider With Chipotle and Islay Single Malt Scotch

makes 2 quarts or serves 6
active time: 10 min

8 cups apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1 chipotle pepper – left whole
1 tablespoon cardamom pods
4 cinnamon sticks (3″ long)
4 cloves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup smoky Islay single malt Scotch (such as Ardbeg or Lagavulin)

1/2 apple – unpeeled, sliced crosswise in 1/8″ slices (use a mandoline)

Place the cider, sugar, chipotle, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves in a large heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover the pot and slow-simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot stand covered for another 30 minutes to let the spices infuse. Strain the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve. Discard the spices and return the strained cider to the stove. Re-heat over medium heat until very warm, but not boiling. Turn off the heat, add the lemon juice and Scotch and stir well. Using tall, narrow glasses, tuck an apple slice inside each glass. Top with the warm mulled cider and serve.

Viviane’s Tip

A single chipotle pepper is a tiny bundle of heat! If you want a hint of spice, keep the chipotle pepper whole (as called for in the recipe). But if you want a spicy cocktail, then cut the chipotle in 2 or 3 pieces. The seeds will impart their fieriness to the cider and make for a drink brimming with smoke and heat.

[copied from HuffPo]