Despite the fact that it's far too early to drink, I'm feeling positively infused with the holiday spirit and so I'm going to break one of my cardinal rules and share our heretofore scrupulously guarded family recipe for Farmer's Bishop. I'm not sure if the name is meant to impugn farmers or bishops, but, honestly, who cares? Because nothing says Happy Thanksgiving* like an ENORMOUS BOWL OF BLAZING BOOZE.
Here's what you'll need:
what probably seems like an excessive number of whole cloves
1 bottle apple brandy (calvados if you're feeling extravagant, cheap rum, if you're in a frugal frame of mind)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 gallon cider
spices to taste (try 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
Persuade one of your least favorite guests to help out by taking on the painful task of sticking cloves into the oranges (about 20 per orange). Prick the oranges a couple of times with a fork to prevent messy explosions and stick them in a pan in the oven for about half an hour at around 300°F (150°C). Take the oranges out and put them in a warm and (this is very important) fireproof punch bowl.
Heat the apple brandy in a saucepan and pour over the oranges. Sprinkle with the sugar.
While you're warming the brandy, heat the cider til it's practically boiling.
Take a 1/2 cup of the cider, stir in the spice mixture and set it aside.
Very carefully (a long fireplace match works well) set the brandy afire. Let it burn for a few seconds, enjoying the eerie blue flames, then douse it with the cider, finishing off with the cup of spiced cider.
*For all you non-Americans, I'm confident you'll be able to find an equally appropriate occasion for this festive libation. Saturnalia! New Years Eve! Arbor Day! Guy Fawkes! Dominion Day! Sankt Hans!
eta: the after-the-fire photo, just to make the whole orange-clove issue a little clearer.