Please don't skimp on the fresh cider in this recipe. When cider is simmered and thickened, the flavor is intensely apple, and intensely autumn. Star anise and cinnamon stick will make your home smell aweome. You can quadruple this recipe and keep it warm on the stove throughout a cold winter evening with friends. You can even throw in a few slices of crisp apple and a squeeze of orange juice in the warm cider to liven up the flavor. For a true toddy, float a pat of butter on each drink and relax by the fire. I've even made this and kept it warm in the slow cooker.