1-1/4 cups medium-dry hard cider, (I recommend local ciders from Farnum Hill in NH, West Country Winery in NH or Furnace Brook Winery in MA
1 pound Cheddar cheese, grated (you can also use Gruyère or Gouda)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons apple brandy or applejack
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Assorted accompaniments, such as crusty French bread; boiled fingerling potatoes; apple or pear slices; steamed cauliflower, broccoli, or green beans; roasted Brussels sprouts; or sausage slices
Rub the inside of a 3- to 4-quart pot with the garlic clove, then discard. Add the cider and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the cheese and nutmeg and stir with a wooden spoon until the cheese is melted. Don't worry if it doesn't blend with the cider ... that will happen later.
In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch with the brandy. Add to the cheese mixture and stir until smooth, about 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with accompaniments of your choice.