Many years ago I got trapped in Canada. (I’m just warning you, this is a long-ish story, and you will surely question its relevance. Stick with me, por favor.)
I had gone to Calgary for a conference. When the conference ended our group drove to Banff to see the beautiful scenery. It was so foggy we could only see the hood ornament of our rental car. So I tried to imagine the mountains. In my mind they were the Tetons, but snowier and craggier, and maybe some Mounties in there somewhere.
We rushed back to make it to the airport in time for our flight. When I was passing through security, the woman looked me in the eye and said in a semi-French accent, “We cannot protect you.”
“What?!?” My mind started racing. Why would she say something like that to me. This was Canada for heaven’s sake, not North Korea. I felt terribly unnerved. I wondered if I was going to be thrust into a Jason Bourne movie at any moment.
When I rejoined my group past security, (after reviewing my kung-fu and/or survival-against-foreign-spy skills,) I asked what in the world was going on. Apparently, the others had gotten more communication than I had. Our flight was delayed due to the intense fog. And because it was a delay caused by the nature, the airline was not liable to put us in a hotel or “protect” us. Phew! I could deal with that. (Although if Matt Damon, had shown up, I would not have been disappointed!)
So, here’s where this story has any relevance. We spent the night in the airport. Super fun. And there was only one place open, Starbucks. I’d never been to Starbucks, (since I don’t drink coffee, I figured there was nothing there for me.) That was the night I discovered out of necessity, caramel apple cider (and scones and vanilla bean frappucinos.) I think I had 4 of them. One for dinner, one for a midnight snack, one for breakfast, and one for brunch. That’s when the fog finally released us from Canada.
There! See how that worked out? It was totally appropriate to share that story!
I’ve loved caramel apple cider ever since. It’s one of my favorite cold weather treats. But it’s a bit on the pricey side, so I went on a quest to recreate the taste at home. I failed for a long time. But no more!
The trick to the treat is the “cinnamon dulce syrup.” Starbucks sells it. But you don’t need to buy it. All seems to be is a cinnamon infused brown sugar simple syrup. Brown sugar, water and cinnamon simmered until it is a syrup consistency.
The actual assembly of the drink is easy and up to your tastes. You can add as much or as little cinnamon dulce syrup, caramel and whipped cream as you desire. But making this at home will save you about $4.00 a pop.
Warm up apple cider any way you please. (Starbucks uses treetop, but honestly it doesn’t matter.) Then add a bit of the cinnamon dulce syrup. (Start with about a tablespoon and see how that works for you.)
Add a little caramel topping (I like Torino brand best.)
Next top with whipped cream and drizzle a bit more caramel on top.
And there you have it. Caramel Apple Cider, without being trapped in Canada and without the price tag!