Put all the ingredients, except the brandy in a large pan. Heat gently over a low heat for 20 minutes; don’t allow the liquid to boil as this will make the spices bitter and burn off the alcohol.
Pour the cider into mugs and add a splash of brandy, if using. Add some fresh or dried apple slices.
Choose your favourite flavour. Cider combined with marmalade gives a cosy citrusy drink or try adding salted caramel for a warming toffee -flavoured mug.
For a non-alcoholic version, use a good pressed apple juice.