Well, the holidays are upon us, so who wants a drink? Seriously though, there’s really not anything better than a hot, spiced drink on a chilly and festive day, alcoholic or otherwise. I’ve been a big fan of mulled wine for a long time, but this year we have quite a bit of wild hard cider hanging around from all the apples on our tree that we pressed. So, this gave me the idea to make up a batch of mulled hard cider for the holiday season!
You can always make this with regular, non alcoholic apple cider as well, but I think it’s more fun with hard cider. If you don’t have any home brewed hard cider, you can use store bought and it should work just fine.
Mulled Hard Cider Recipe
First you will need to gather your mulling spices. This is variable based on your own tastes, but generally includes cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, star anise, cardamom, ginger, and orange. Some people leave out the cardamom and the nutmeg, but I like all the spices I can get!
If you want to make a dry mulling spice mix, you can use dried orange peel and dried ginger. It would also be a good idea to break up the cinnamon sticks and the nutmeg a bit with a mallet. Mountain Rose Herbs has a great recipe for doing this.
While it’s nice to have mulling spice mix on hand (and it makes a great gift, too), I generally just end up making it on the fly. Feel free to use a spice bag or cheesecloth so you don’t have to strain out the spices. One thing to note is that I do not add any sugar to my mulled hard cider. If you’d like to make yours a little sweeter, you could add some brown sugar or honey to the mix as well.
- one gallon hard cider (I have 2 methods for making: with packaged yeast or wild yeast)
- 3 orange slices, plus more for garnish
- 1 inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 10 whole cloves
- 10 whole allspice berries
- 2 Tbsp whole cardamom pods
- 3 whole star anise
- grated nutmeg for garnish
Put everything except the nutmeg into a large pot and heat over medium heat. Once the mulled cider is just barely simmering, turn to low and keep warm until serving, at least 20-30 minutes. Strain spices and serve, garnished with a orange slice and freshly grated nutmeg. You can also add a cinnamon stick and star anise to the cup of brew, if you’re feeling really fancy!
What a tasty and festive holiday treat this is! I enjoy hard cider any way, but this is probably one of my favorites. I love anything with cinnamon, ginger, and cloves!
What is your favorite holiday drink?