I have a group of 8 hungry adults visiting to help with some yardwork. Before a big ethnic Eastern European dinner, I am going to serve some drinks and nibbles. Being the middle of winter here, I was thinking hot apple cider for the drinks made in a crockpot. Apart from the obvious - cider, cinnamon stick, maybe some Calvados and butter to top each each mug - what are your suggestions for additions to the cider brew - nutmeg? Dried juniper berries? Fresh halved apples? Also for cider, are there any preferred varieties or brands? Should I go with the super sweet Rekorderlig type or something drier?
As for munchies to go with it, I am considering slices of smoked pork sausage, maybe some pretzels. Considering the carb heavy main meal, something like pulled pork sliders would be too much bother, but I do want a few cold and hot options to line the stomach and soak up the cider.