Grey and Chilly? Got the Autumn Blues? Spice Up Your Afternoon with Hot Mulled Apple Cider, Or Spike It Up Come Evening If You Choose …
It’s the middle of November now, and there’s a sharp nip in the air by late afternoon. The sky is often streaked with slate colored clouds, and the sun, when it makes an appearance, slips away early on the western horizon. Naked trees shiver in the wind as I huddle inside my downy jacket, tending to late autumn chores in the garden. I can feel Winter’s icy breath as she whispers, “prepare“…
Well, hold back solemn Winter – I am still scrambling to get things done. The firewood is only half stacked and the Secret Garden still needs mulching. I have orchards to plan and stumps to pull and ditches to clear in the driveway. Hold back stark friend, there are still Autumn moments to savor. There are wild berry branches to gather and pine cones to pick up. The late auburn beauty of November still paints the forest, and bonfires warm our chilly toes as we gaze upon inky skies filled with stars…
Pause now. Revel in the pleasures of this season before we rush to the next.
Yesterday, I stole a quiet moment with Autumn on the back terrace. As I sipped my spicy, mulled cider and savored the warm patch of sunlight, I knew I must share the recipe with all of you here. Simmer a cup or a pot of apple cider on the stove and breathe in the fragrance. Steep rich mulling spices in your drink and enjoy the aroma of the season. Come night-fall, the rum-spiked version of this classic recipe makes for a memorable evening beside a crackling wood stove…
Slow down for a spell and drink up the last drops of Autumn while you can…
Hot Mulled Cider
And Mulling Spice Recipe for Mulled Wine or Hot Spiked Cider
(makes sachets for 4 big, spicy mugs, or 1 large bag for a 1/2 gallon of cider. Divide evenly for single servings, or multiply evenly for larger gatherings)
8 whole cardamon pods, split open
8 whole cloves, (plus extra for orange-garnish)
8 whole cinnamon sticks, (plus more for garnishing each cup)
4 teaspoons freshly ground allspice
4 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
4 teaspoons fresh grated orange peel
1 orange, cut into slices for garnish
4 muslin or cheesecloth bags for 4 large mugs or 1 large bag for 1 quart pot of cider
1/2 gallon of fresh heirloom apple cider, (I bought mine from local Scott Farm)
Crack open cardamon pods and and muddle lightly with the back of a wooden spoon or pestle. Place all spices in a large muslin or cheesecloth bag, or evenly divide all spices into four bags.* Tie the bag tightly and toss into a large pot with 1/2 gallon of fresh cider. For single servings, use a small sauce pot. Turn on the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Simmer on low – DO NOT BOIL. In the meantime, create one orange slice garnish per serving, (or to float in serving bowl), by imbedding several cloves in each slice. Place extra cinnamon sticks, (one per serving), in each cup. Remove mulled cider from heat and extract the spice sack. Pour cider into cups or bowl and garnish with orange/clove slices. Serve hot.
*This recipe is a heady mix. For a more subtle blend, increase cider ratio or reduce spice quantities to taste. I like a lot of spice in my life…
Hot Spiked Cider
After simmering the 1/2 gallon of cider and spices for 15 minutes, add 1 1/2 cups of golden Puerto Rican rum to the pot. Simmer for 5 more minutes and continue to prepare as above.
Mulled Red Wine
This is also an excellent spice recipe for mulled red wine. Choose an inexpensive, dry red wine, (such as a Cabernet Sauvignon). Ratio should be approximately the same: 1/2 gallon of wine per bag of mulling spices.
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