In her new book A Woman's Drink, Natalka Burian more than delivers on her promise of "bold drinks for bold woman," especially with this easy-as-can-be punch recipe. You don't have to be a woman or a bold person to enjoy it—timid men, drink away—but either way, the use of a slow cooker here is a genius way of freeing up precious burner real estate during a holiday cooking marathon. Whether or not you choose to add bourbon, it's the perfect way to ease into (or take the edge off of) a family gathering.
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Hot Apple Cider
Reprinted from A Woman’s Drink by Natalka Burian with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 to 8 hours, inactive
Total Time: 4 to 8 hours, inactive
For the Cider:
4 allspice berries
1½ teaspoon whole cloves
4 whole star anise
6 to 8 cardamom pods
8 cups organic apple cider
One 15-ounce can organic butternut squash puree
For the Optional Garnish:
10 cinnamon sticks, plus 6 for serving
6 dried orange slices
Bourbon for serving
1. In a small bowl, combine the allspice, cloves, star anise, and cardamom. Transfer the mixture to a spice or tea ball infuser if you have one—or just a coffee filter and some kitchen twine.
2. Pour the cider into the slow cooker and add the butternut squash puree.
3. Whisk or stir until combined, then add the spices. Put the cinnamon and orange slices into the mixture directly.
4. Set the slow cooker to low for 4 to 8 hours, depending on how long you want to enjoy it. Give it at least 3 hours on low before you serve. If you’re preparing this on the stove top, simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.
5. Ladle out the cider into 8-ounce mugs, and garnish each one with a fresh cinnamon stick. Serve to the nondrinking family members as is, but feel free to add bourbon where required.