This winter, fill your home with the cosy aromas of mulled cider. Spiced with ginger, star anise and cinnamon, mulled cider is the perfect warming winter tipple. It's a delicious alternative to the more familiar mulled wine.
With two mature apple trees at our cottage in Suffolk, we often make cider from the surplus apples. So it was inevitable for me to try my hand at making mulled cider. Once I tried it soon became a regular winter tipple and I now serve it alongside mulled wine at festive gatherings and it's hard to say which is the most popular.
I liked to mull cider with ginger, as apple and ginger are such a good combination. To this I add a hint of star anise and cinnamon. If you don't have star anise, a few cloves will give a nice spiciness.
The end result is lighter than mulled wine yet with a lovely warming flavour of ginger that doesn't overpower. For a little bit more of a kick, I add a good slug of brandy.
When served warm, it is a delicious winter drink, but also surprisingly good served cold. In addition, it's cheaper and lower in alcohol than mulled wine. All in all well worth giving a try.
I like it! Do you?
- Cider – A still dry cider is the best for mulling. You can use a cloudy or clear cider.
- Apple Juice – If using a cloudy cider you can use a cloudy or clear apple juice but if using a clear cider opt for a clear apple juice so your mulled cider is also clear.
- Sugar – If you use a sweet cider you might want to reduce the sugar slightly. I prefer to use a dry cider as more sugar can always be added later if the mulled cider is not sweet enough for you.
- Spices – Ginger gives gentle warming tones to cider and cinnamon adds the classic flavour you expect from mulled drinks. Star anise compliments the ginger and cinnamon.
- Brandy – Add a little kick to the finished drink.
How to make mulled cider step by step
1 Pare the zest from the lemon with a potato peeler or sharp knife. Do not include the white pith.
2 Pour the apple and lemon juice into a large pan. Add the sugar and spices. Heat until sugar dissolves.
3 Add the cider and heat gently for 30 minutes.
4 Add the brandy just before serving in heatproof glasses.
Unlike mulled wine which I tend to only serve at Christmas, I serve mulled cider from autumn through to spring. It's fabulous after a long winter walk or to drink curled up on the sofa on a cold night.
After infusing the mulled cider can be kept warm for several hours. Serve spooned into heatproof glasses or mugs.
Perfect for parties, my mulled cider will serve about 12 people. You can scale up or down as required.
If you like you can serve each glass with a cinnamon stick.
Keeping the cider warm
As with mulled wine, the trick is to avoid boiling the mixture since this will drive off all the alcohol and will spoil the flavour. Keep it barely simmering, so that the cider is hot with just the occasional bubble rising to the surface.
A great way to keep mulled cider warm is in a slow cooker (crockpot). Perfect for parties!
- 1 lemon
- 300 ml apple juice
- 50 g caster sugar
- 2-3 cm piece root ginger peeled and sliced
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1½ litre dry cider
- 2-3 tablespoons brandy optional
- Pare the the zest from one lemon lemon with a potato peeler or sharp knife. Take care not to include too much of the white pith. Squeeze the juice.
- Pour 300ml (½pt) apple juice and the lemon juice in a large pan and add the (2oz) sugar. Heat gently, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add 2-3cm ( 1in) ginger sliced , 2 star anise and 1 cinnamon stick and leave to simmer for a few minutes.
- Add 1½litres ( 2½pt) cider, and heat until it is just beginning to simmer. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for at least 30 minutes. Do not allow it to boil.
- Just before serving add 2-3 tablespoon brandy id desired. Serve hot in sturdy glasses.
I'm linking this post to #CookBlogShare hosted here at The Glutenfree Alchemist