Dating back to Pilgrim times in New England, earlier versions were laced with alcohol. Back in the day, due to a lack of refrigeration, the cider wasn’t sweet. Now, with modern fridges and their great capacity to keep liquid cool, the varieties of mulled cider are endless.
Mull your own cider…
It gets its name from the word mull, meaning to flavor a beverage by heating it and adding spices which is the exact process used to make this type of cider.
- Choose quality cider. It should smell and taste rich and be sweet with enough acid to balance out the sweetness. If using an overly tart cider, add a bit of sugar to counterbalance the flavors and truly bring out the spices. The best ciders are cloudy and thin out when heated. Also, beware of possible E coli contamination if purchased in an unpasteurized state. Read about this topic at Serious Eats and The Guardian.
- No need to invest in a ‘cider specific mulling kit’ as these are often times overpriced and underwhelming to the palate. You’re better off accumulating your own set of spices and personalizing it to your taste. This tip comes from The Guardian.
- Spices serve a specific purpose. To bring out the apples’ natural richness, go with cinnamon for sweetness. Spice and cloves restore depth and body to cider that is thinned out during mulling. This tip is courtesy of The Guardian.
- If you choose the floral route opt for a dash of cardamom.
- For musky-citrus flavor don’t forget coriander. This statement comes from Serious Eats.
- For a faint hint of licorice or for a spicy kick add a bit of star anise, ginger or one tablespoon of alcohol (e.g. bourbon, cognac, cinnamon Schnapps, whiskey, apple flavored liquor Calvados, rum, plum brandy). Make sure to add alcohol after the mulling process. Otherwise the potency of the alcohol will subside. This tip comes from Food Hacks.
- If grinding spices your cider will require hours of steeping which will give the spices plenty of time to make its way through the cider.
- If you’re up for it, toast whole cardamom pods and/or coriander to extract the most of the bold flavors.
- Start with apple cider and not juice.
“Fresh cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove coarse particles of pulp or sediment…Apple juice is juice that has been filtered to remove solids and pasteurized so that it will stay fresh longer.”
- Take advantage of the season and head to your local farmer’s market for fresh pressed, full bodied apple cider.
- Once you become comfortable with a standard recipe go out on a limb; use a variety of apples and parts of the orange too. Why not try Pink Lady or Mutsu in your next batch? While Bobby Flay swears to using whole orange slices, Ina Garten prefers to just use the peel and juice.
- Using a slow cooker is the easiest way to allow it to stew for hours. If not, use the lowest flame on the stove or place a pot in a heavy skillet to act as a heat diffuser. This statement comes from Serious Eats.
What are you doing to make the best #mulledcider ? Care to share with us @Kitchology and @kitchenchick123?