It’s the second of December! Well past the time for one to enjoy the delights of mulled cider and mulled wine! There is just something about cold weather, a roaring fireplace and a spiced drink! Do you enjoy warm, spiced drinks when the weather turns cold?
Our recipe for mulled cider follows the same principle as our mulled wine (click for recipe), with citrusy notes, a touch of spice and because it’s cider, apples, definitely apples!
Ingredients for the Best Mulled Cider
To me, an old fashioned, traditional, still apple cider works best. Fizzy cider don’t work as well for me. By the way, if you are in the US, the cider I’m talking about here, is what you might know as hard cider, the alcoholic variety, not apple juice.
Apples – as it’s apple cider we are using, we definitely want to add some apple slices into the whole mix for some fresh, crisp tones in the finished product.
Citrus Fruit – oranges and lemons are a must in any mulled drink, adding a slight zingy dimension to your concoction.
Apple Juice – I love using a little apple juice, again for a fresh flavour to the whole apple cider brandy. It also provides the liquid base for the initial mulling of all the aromatics and flavourings, as you’ll see.
Ginger – I stick with the ginger in this too because its warming citrus aroma just complements and heightens all the other flavours in the drink.
Cinnamon and Cloves – just what you need to complete the picture but I only use a tiny, tiny piece of cinnamon. Many people don’t realise how overpowering cinnamon can be and it doesn’t take much for it to smother everything else, giving the final product an overly sweet spicy aftertaste. If you drink masala chai, you’ll know just what I mean!
That’s about it. Some people like to add vanilla and star anise into the mix, like Jamie Oliver does but to me, that just mars the clean, crisp taste, and adds an unnecessary, complicated flavour profile. But to each, his own!
Our Mulled Wine recipe has Cointreau added to it to complement all that citrus aroma and flavour. But, with Mulled Cider, as the overriding theme is all about the apples, I have to go with some sort of apple brandy. The obvious one to go for is Calvados, apple brandy from Normandy, France. My next favourite brandy for this is Apple Cider Brandy, produced locally. Apple brandy makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
However, they are both rather expensive, well, I guess because I never buy anything less than 5 years old. If you find the price prohibitive or cannot get apple brandy where you are, go for whatever good quality brandy you can get.
So there you have it folks, this holiday season, have a large pot of this, very lightly simmering away as your guests arrive, and greet them with a small glass of sweet and spicy mulled cider. They’ll love you for it!
- 125 ml (half cup) apple juice
- 100 g (3.5 oz) white sugar
- 1 small stick cinnamon
- 3 cloves
- 2.5 cm (1") fresh ginger
- 1 large unwaxed orange, sliced in rings
- 1 unwaxed lemon, sliced in rings
- 1 litre (4 cups) good quality cider
- 125 ml (half cup) brandy
- Place all the ingredients apart from the cider and brandy into a medium sized saucepan.
- Heat on medium until the sugar has dissolved, stirring well.
- Lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add the cider and brandy and continue to heat on low heat. After 5 minutes or so, it should have warmed through and be ready to be served. I like to leave it on the lowest heat setting and top up my glass as needed.