This recipe was great! If you brew loose tea at home and you have one of those wire-ball tea strainers, you can use that to hold the cloves; that way there's no loose cloves floating around. Also, give the cinnamon sticks a rinse (run some water through the cinnamon stick itself) to wash out any little loose bits before adding them to the recipe.
As for variations, I tried adding some whole cardamom pods along with the cloves, and we omitted the lemon. We used apple juice instead of cider so we omitted the brown sugar.
I cooked it on HIGH in the crockpot for about an hour, turned it to LOW for a few hours after that, then turned it off for the rest of the day; between the three adults in the house, we polished off about 12 cups of the stuff (which was all I'd made). This is a wonderful wintertime drink and would be ideal for parties. :)
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This recipe was great! If you brew loose tea at home and you have one of those wire-ball tea...