Warm caramel-apple cocktail

A warming winter treat!

After a week in Cuba, I have warm breezes and cocktails on my mind, although I realize that my fantasies are highly unlikely to melt the huge snowdrifts around my home. I always bring a bottle of rum back from Caribbean trips as I find it to be a very versatile spirit; it’s great in baking, for seafood dishes and even for perking up sweet or savoury sauces. I decided I would try a new experiment this year – spicing up a portion of the bottle and using it for a new cocktail to chase away the cold. I am often reluctant to buy specialty spirits as I am never sure if I will use the whole bottle so this recipe is a great way to make a small batch of spiced rum. Another snowstorm tonight has me thinking that a warm rum drink could be a great antidote to the weather. If you are looking for a bit of a shortcut, you can buy great caramel syrup at many specialty coffee shops. You can, of course, also buy spiced rum, but making it from scratch is pretty easy and fun!


For spiced rum:

  • 1 cup dark rum*
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) green cardamom pods, cracked
  • 2 slices fresh ginger root
  • 2 tips star anise
  • 1 strip orange peel (1 inch x 2 inch / 2.5 cm x 5 cm)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) black peppercorns, bruised
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) whole cloves
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

*If you’re in a rush and want to use the spiced rum within a couple of hours, warm it slightly in a small pot or the microwave before adding the spices. This will speed up the infusion process.

For caramel syrup:

  • 2/3 cup (180 mL) water, divided
  • 2/3 cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

For cocktail:

  • 2 ounces (60 mL) cold pressed apple cider (non alcoholic)
  • 2 ounces (60 mL) spiced rum
  • 1/2 ounce (15 mL) caramel syrup


For spiced rum:

  • Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight lid.
  • Cover and shake well to combine. Let rest for at least 24 or up to 48 hours to infuse.
  • Strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and store in a clean jar or bottle.

For caramel syrup:

  • Put 4 tablespoons (60 mL) of the water in a small saucepan. Add the sugar.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce temperature slightly and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until syrup is turning a golden brown colour (7 – 10 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 1 minute.
  • Slowly add the remaining water (1/2 cup or 120 mL) to the pan, stirring to distribute evenly. Be careful as you add the water as the mixture will steam and bubble.
  • Immediately transfer to a heatproof glass jar and set aside to cool. Store at room temperature for up to a week.

For cocktail:

  • Put apple cider in a heatproof jug and warm it in the microwave until it is very warm but not boiling.
  • Add rum and caramel syrup; stir well.
  • Pour into a heatproof glass and garnish with an apple slice or cinnamon stick.

Makes 1 cocktail.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

2 thoughts

  1. If you can’t go to the sun, bring the sun to you! Can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

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