Recipe: Hot spiced cider, by Muffy Vhay |

Recipe: Hot spiced cider, by Muffy Vhay

Muffy Vhay
Hot spiced cider.

The home ranch where I grew up here in Washoe Valley has been sold. The main house is a stone house built by the Wungnemas — Hopi stone masons extraordinaire — in about 1949. There are also three charming smaller houses and the studio my husband, David, at age 18, built for my father. That, too, was faced with Hopi stonework. Eighty years of work and pleasure, deep snows in ’52 and other years, hot summers and corn, floods and too-close fires, gardens and orchards, pond and fields, horses and cows (“Granny Moo” to be exact — we still have her bell). My parents’ ashes are scattered there; many pets, including Bonnie, my father’s beloved Morgan horse, are buried there.

By all reports, it was sold to a person who never even came to look at the ranch, and who “might use it in the summer sometime.” We had hoped the new owner — and, therefore, our new neighbor (as our piece is still intact) would use the ranch as a home. A place to create community, grow things, take care of the houses and land, raise kids, dogs, cows and chickens. Ducks on the pond. In short, a living, breathing, working ranch. We’ll see what happens. It’s sad and wrenching for us.

So perhaps this simple recipe for hot spiced cider will warm our hearts.


The recipe will serve 20 or so people and can be doubled or halved.

1 1/2 gallons cider (clear, not cloudy) or part apple juice

Cinnamon sticks for garnish

Spice bag — cheesecloth bag containing:

6 big (Costco size) cinnamon sticks, broken in small pieces

1 Tbs whole cloves

1 Tbs whole allspice

Sugar to taste if desired.

Heat cider in stainless or glass pot, add spice bag and simmer — don’t boil for about an hour. Serve hot, in mugs with a cinnamon stick for garnish.