Hot Applejack Cider

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
10 black peppercorns
8 whole allspice berries
5 whole cloves
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
6 cups apple cider
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (2-inch) orange rind strips
2 (2-inch) lemon rind strips
3/4 cup applejack brandy


Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar and next 4 ingredients (through cinnamon sticks); cook 1 minute. Add cider and next 4 ingredients (through lemon rind); bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in applejack. Strain; discard solids.