For a spice bag, place orange peel, broke cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom, and peppercorns in the center of a double-thick, 6- to 8-inch square of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth. Bring up corners; tie closed with clean kitchen string.Advertisement
In a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker combine spice bag, apple cider, water and syrup.
Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. Add tea bags, draping strings over sides of cooker. Cover; let stand for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags, gently pressing tea bags against sides of cooker to release liquid. Discard tea bags and spice bag. Ladle hot drink into mugs. If desired, garnish each drink with an additional cinnamon stick.
When removing the orange peel strips, use a vegetable peeler and avoid picking up any of the bitter white pith.
If desired, add 1 to 2 tablespoons golden rum or apple brandy to each mug before adding the hot drink.