52-64ounces (or 2 litres)apple juice or plain apple cider(a 52 ounce bottle is what I used)
4cardamom seedscrushed with the butt of your knife
2inch piecegingercut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
Add the spices to a square piece of cheesecloth or fill them with a tea strainer. Secure the cheesecloth (or tea strainer) with a piece of butcher's twine to the slow cooker's handle and hang it in the slow cooker.
Add the vanilla bean and the apple juice (or cider) to the slow cooker.Turn the slow cooker to "high" and simmer the juice with the spices for 2 hours. For a longer steeping time, set the slow cooker to "low" and simmer for 4 hours instead.
Once done, lower the temperature of the slow cooker to "warm." Remove the vanilla bean from the mixture and leave it to cool down for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the spice sachet.
Once the vanilla bean is cool enough to handle, run the backside of your knife down the length of the bean to extract the caviar that's inside. Add the vanilla bean paste to the cider, stirring to break it up a bit.
Garnish the spiced apple cider with apple slices, star anise, or leave it plain. Keep the cider warm for up to 8 hours. When serving, carefully ladle the cider into heat-safe mugs and sip as desired.
Adult Version (with Alcohol):
Stir in 1 cup (250 ml) of bourbon, brandy, or spiced rum with the apple juice.
Pour the apple juice into a 4-quart dutch oven.
Tie up the spices in a cheesecloth bundle or fill a tea strainer with them and add this to the pot along with the split vanilla bean.
Bring the juice up to a simmer over medium heat.
Decrease the temperature to low and allow the juice to heat and the spices to infuse 45 minutes-1 hour.
Once done, extract the caviar from the vanilla bean and stir it into the cider. Remove and discard the spice bundle, then garnish the cider with apple slices (optional).
Serve as desired.
Allow the cider to cool completely.
Transfer the cider to a cider jug or similar vessel.
Refrigerate the cider for up to 1 week.
Drink as a cold beverage or transfer it to a saucepan and heat it over medium heat until warmed.
Discard any reheated beverage.
Freeze the cider in ice cube trays until solid (you can also pour the entire batch of liquid into a leakproof bag and freeze it in a block).
Use the apple cider ice cubes to cool down your hot cereal.
Add the ice cubes to cocktails, iced tea, or caramel drinks to impart an apple-y flavor to each.
Use cool cider as a mixer for cocktails or blend into smoothies.