This is a first. I have ALL my Christmas shopping done with two weeks to spare! Thank God for online shopping and Amazon.com. With all the spare time I’m going to have NOT going to the mall, looking for a place to park, waiting in line, and fighting the crowds, I think I’ll curl up on the couch with a hot mug of mulled apple cider and bask in the glow of my Christmas tree.
Mulled apple cider is one of the first things I make as soon as there is even a hint of nip in the air. Everything — from the smell as it simmers on my stove to the spicy sweet goodness that hits my tongue and warms my insides — is cozy. I used to buy prepackaged mulling spices from the grocery store, but one year it became hard to find so I decided to make my own. If you can find a store that sells spices in bulk, it’s so much more cost effective. Plus, by making it yourself, you can play around with the ingredients to concoct your own special blend. Think about adding dried lemon peels, crystallized ginger, or cranberries. This recipe would also work for mulled red wine.
After spending a day chasing around Little Tot, I set a pot of this to simmer right before I put him to bed. By the time he’s asleep, it’s ready and SO AM I! I usually put a jigger of bourbon in the bottom of my mug first, you know, just to help me unwind.
Mulling Spices for Mulled Apple Cider
- ¼ cup whole allspice
- ¼ cup whole cloves
- ¼ cup whole juniper berries
- 6-8 whole star anise
- 4 whole cinnamon sticks, crushed
- Dried orange peel segments from one small orange
- 4 cups apple cider
- 2 tablespoons mulling spices
- Combine all spices in a mason jar or container with a lid. Should keep for one year
- Pour apple cider into a medium saucepan.
- Add mulling spices. Bring cider to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Strain cider.
- Pour into four individual mugs. Add bourbon or rum if desired.