Place the cider in a large, heavy pot or kettle. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves and cardamon pods in the center of a square of cheesecloth. Bring the ends of the cheesecloth together and tie securely with kitchen twine. Add to the cider. Simmer the cider for 30 minutes to 3 hours (the longer the better) and skim any foam that rises to the surface. When ready to serve, stir in the apple brandy and return to a simmer. Serve the cider in heated mugs garnished with a slice of lemon, orange and cinnamon stick.
These drinks taste just as good without the alcohol and you might want to make an extra batch for the kids while you're making your own. Add to these recipes your favorite family hot chocolate, spiced tea and whatever other hot drink recipes you may have. They will taste might good on those cold winter days ahead.
Makes 16 servings