Have you ever wondered what “mulled” actually means? As in Mulled Apple Cider?
I always assumed that it meant heated and indeed, as I confirmed via the fantabulous web, that is precisely what it means. Or almost. Heated with spices is more exact. Thus, Hot Mulled Cider is really a bit redundant. If it’s mulled, it’s hot.
But here’s the thing. There are a thousand recipes on the web for Mulled Apple Cider and they are basically much the same: apple cider, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and maybe orange slices or orange peel.
It’s a winning combination, for sure. Nonetheless, I am always looking for interesting ways to enhance a standard, so am pushing the mulled apple cider envelope a bit here. And the result, I assure you, is divine!
SERVING NOTE If you are serving this to a group of adults, all of whom can imbibe alcohol, you may want to add one of the optional liquors to the brew. However, I think it’s more practical (and perhaps thoughtful) to leave it out and then add for those who wish.
Typically, I make a gallon at a time and store in the fridge. In the middle of the day, I drink it as is. In the evening, when it’s time to relax, I may top it off with an excellent Calvados.
Ahhhh… is there any season more magical than Fall?
INGREDIENT NOTE You can get dried hibiscus in health-oriented markets, usually in the help-yourself spice and herb jars section. It’s not absolutely essential here but does add a lovely red color and astringency that help to balance the sweetness of the cider. Skip it if you don’t have it on hand.
1 whole nutmeg
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 whole star anise
I teaspoon cardamom pods, pods removed
2 Mexican (canela) cinnamon sticks, broken apart
1 tablespoon dried hibiscus flowers
½ teaspoon cayenne chile flakes, or 1 teaspoon if you want it spicier
2 quarts fresh apple cider (local if possible; not from concentrate, no additives, unpasteurized if possible)
¼ cup dark brown sugar
zest of two oranges
garnish: 1 orange peel twist and 1 canela cinnamon stick per serving
optional: 1 ounce Calvados, Armagnac, Cognac, or Applejack per 8-ounce serving
- Put nutmeg, cloves, allspice, star anise, and cardamom seeds in a Ziploc bag, seal, set the bag on a cutting board, and then smash into small pieces by pounding fairly hard with a mallet. Reserve.
- In a medium saucepan, add apple cider, sugar and orange zest, along with combined spices and cayenne, and bring to a bare simmer.
- Barely simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
- Strain and add back to a clean saucepan. Keep warm over low heat while serving.
- Ladle about 8-ounces of mulled cider into a 10-ounce clear glass mug. If you are serving with the optional liquor, add it now, and stir.
- Garnish with orange rind and a cinnamon stick. Serve hot.
MORE For apple selection, season, storage, hardening, and cooking information, as well as a honed list of excellent resources, check out our Apple Cider Primer.
Thanks for stopping by!
Copyright 2021 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.