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Slow Down With Mulled Cider

ENJOY A SOFT TIME-OUT to savor good fortune, family and friends.  Mulled Cider festively titillates while warming the hurting, jagged parts.  Fragrant wafts of apple, clove and cinnamon nourish and awaken deeper cravings for reflection, meaning and song. 

1 1/2 quarts unfiltered apple cider
1 orange, sliced
15 allspice berries
12 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

6 Tablespoons rum, brandy or bourbon (optional)

Place cider, orange slices, allspice berries, cloves, and cinnamon stick pieces in a large pot.  Simmer very lightly for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and strain.  Pour hot cider mixture into six mugs and stir 1 tablespoon rum, brandy or bourbon, if using, into each mug.  Grace each serving with a cinnamon stick, if desired.