Made From Scratch: Cinnamon Simple Syrup

The smell of cinnamon instantly puts me in the holiday mood. Though Halloween may not yet have rolled by, I am fully ready to embrace the holiday season once we hit November. While it's not quite time for drinking spicy wassail, I think it's fair to embrace the autumn harvest season and spice up an apple-cider-based cocktail with a little cinnamon simple syrup.

Cinnamon Simple Syrup (printer-friendly version)
makes about two cups

2 cups filtered water
4 cinnamon sticks
2 cups raw sugar

1. Add the cinnamon sticks and water to a medium sauce pot. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and allow the cinnamon sticks to simmer in the water for 10 minutes.
2. After 10 minutes, stir in the raw sugar until completely dissolved. Simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the syrup is slightly thickened.
3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
4. Strain the syrup through a sieve and then pour it into a container with an airtight lid. The syrup can be kept, chilled in the fridge, for up to two weeks.

Spiked Hot Apple Cider (printer-friendly version)
makes two cocktails

1 1/2 C organic apple cider
2 oz rum
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon simple syrup (use more or less to taste)
ground nutmeg
cinnamon stick

1. Heat the apple cider in a small saucepot over medium heat.
2. Add one shot of rum to each glass. Stir in the simple syrup.
3. Pour the hot apple cider into each glass.
4. Stir each cocktail with a cinnamon stick and sprinkle with ground nutmeg.
5. Serve.