Day-drinking diaries. The Colonial Americans wrote the book on it, though it’s not as fun as it sounds. They turned to alcohol because it was safer to drink than the water. And gussying up what was probably some harsh hooch with sugar and spice was the obvious way to make it all go down. Pay tribute to the Pilgrims by kicking your plain apple cider up a notch.
Bring the cider, syrup, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, star anise and bay leaf (plus allspice berries, if using) to a low boil in a medium saucepan, about 10 minutes. Pour in the rum, brandy and allspice dram, if using instead of the berries, and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Float the apple rings in the punch. Ladle punch into mugs, add a squeeze of fresh orange juice to each mug and top with apple rings.