Cider mulling in the kitchen is the aroma of Vermont in Autumn. Add a crackling fire in the hearth, and you’ve no reason to venture out.
I’m not sure if the wood smoke of the fireplace makes the cider taste better, or if the cider makes the fire dance more slowly. Either way, it’s a perfect moment. Add some Vermont Cheddar and some crackers, and you can settle in with a good book and get lost.
A thousand ways to create your own blend
Quite honestly, you can make mulled cider a thousand ways depending on what spices you like, or what you have on hand. I try to have at least cinnamon and a citrus in the mixture whenever I make it, but the rest is up to you.
This is how I made it one day when I decided to write down the recipe, but just sprinkle and be creative, you really can’t go wrong. Make it your own way, taste as you go, and don’t forget the pinch of salt. Now, if you hit on a mixture you think is out of this world, try to remember what you used and make a note, because trust me on this, next week, you won’t have a clue how you made it.
First, start with fresh cider
You want fresh, unfiltered apple cider, not processed apple juice. They are not interchangeable. Your cider will smell like fresh apples, and it will be cloudy in appearance. It is made from a combination of many different types of apples to give it a well rounded flavor. It is not as shelf stable as apple juice, but it can be frozen if you end up with a bounty. If left in the refrigerator for an extended amount of time, it will ferment!
If you don’t have cinnamon sticks, use a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
Mulled Apple Cider
1 quart fresh, unfiltered apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks, plus a pinch of ground
10 whole cloves
8-10 black peppercorns
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 star anise
1-inch knob of ginger, sliced
The peel of one orange and one lemon
That orange, sliced
A pinch of salt
1 vanilla pod (saved from a recipe where I used the seeds!)
Mix all ingredients together and whisk well. Heat to steaming, but not quite a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for at least a half hour, covered. Turn off heat and let set for another half hour if you can stand to wait. Strain and serve.
Your house will smell incredible!
Mulled Cider with a Splash: To each mug of cider, you can add a little rum, or brandy, or Calvados, which is an apple brandy.
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