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Mulled Cider

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Shutterstock

Good New England apple cider from a roadside mill is one of my very favorite beverages in the world. Mulling cider with a select mixture of spices perfumes the house with wonderful aromas and makes for the most comforting warm winter drink I know. Children love the cider “as is” from the pot, while adults often enjoy the added kick of a jigger of rum, brandy, or Calvados. When pulling out all the stops, float a pat of spiced butter on top of a steaming mug, spiked or unspiked, of the golden brew.

Makes8 servings

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 1 hour

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCocktail Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursebeverage

Equipmentelectric mixer

Moodfestive

Taste and Texturefruity, spiced, sweet

Type of Dishalcoholic beverage, non-alcoholic beverage

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts fresh apple cider
  • ¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (about 2 inches each)
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Zest of 1 orange, peeled in continuous spiral if possible
  • 1 ounce per serving of rum, brandy, or Calvados (optional)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions

  1. Combine the cider, light brown sugar, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, and orange zest in a large pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered 30 minutes. Strain the spices from the mixture and discard. Return the cider to pan and keep warm. The cider is ready to be served as is. If spiking it, pour 1 ounce of the preferred liquor into each serving mug and fill with the hot cider.

  2. If the cider is to be embellished with the spiced butter, cream the butter and dark brown sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the spices and continue beating 1 minute more. Float a heaping teaspoon of the butter on top of each serving of hot cider. Store any leftover butter in the refrigerator for future batches of mulled cider.

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