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Mulled Cider (with Wine) & Homemade Mulling Spices

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    Infused with Homemade Mulling Spices, Mulled Cider (with or without wine) is the perfect drink to serve during the holidays. It fills your kitchen with a rich, spicy aroma that’s warm and welcoming as the drink itself! 

    White cups containing hot mulled cider garnished with orange slice and a cinnamon stick.

    I was first introduced to mulled drinks a couple of years ago over the holiday get-together at our team member Naomi’s house. Her husband Scott handed me a mug of hot mulled drink and it was so delicious. The following year, when we hosted a get-together at our house, he brought over apple juice, wine, and mulling spices and showed me how to make it. In our house, we call this mulled drink Scott’s holiday drink.

    That’s how I got interested in making my own Homemade Mulling Spices and Mulled Cider (optionally with Wine).

    A mason jar containing Mulling Spices for Hot Mulled Cider.

    What is Mulled Cider

    Hot mulled cider is apple cider infused with fall/holiday spices like cinnamon and cloves. The warm, spiced, cozy flavor is a favorite for many during the fall and holiday season. You can also use pressed apple juice instead of apple cider.

    • Flavor: The balance of apple and spices is the key. Naturally sweet, spiced, and warm, it makes the most comforting drink during this season.
    • Ease: Absolutely easy! Just throw everything in the pot and let it simmer!
    • Simmering: You only need to simmer for 10 minutes. Just make sure you don’t let it boiled.
    • Time: Very quick, and you can make it in advance.

    Some people may call Hot Mulled Cider “Mocked Mulled Wine” since it’s an alcohol-free version of Mulled Wine. Mulled Wine is a hot red wine (use an entire bottle) that is infused with Mulling Spices. Typically, it includes orange and/or apples, sugar or honey, and liquors such as brandy, cognac, rum, and vodka.

    A white Staub cocotte containing hot mulled cider.

    Adding Wine to Mulled Cider

    For Scott’s Holiday Drink, he adds a bit of wine and I love how wine gives a nice bold, deep flavor that apple cider doesn’t have. As I’m not a huge alcoholic drinker myself, Mulled Wine is a bit too much to handle; however, this Hot Mulled Cider with the addition of wine is perfect for me.

    So for adults, try adding some wine. I usually add 1 cup (240 ml) of wine per ½ gallon (2 QT or 2 L) apple cider. If you prefer more alcohol in Mulled Cider, gradually increase wine to 2 cups and see if you like it better.

    Types of Wine – A medium-priced (<$20) bottle of your favorite red wine would do. To pair with holiday spices, I use Malbec, which is dry, full-bodied, and rich, fruity flavors. If you google, a lot of people recommend different types of wines such as Zinfandel, Syrah/Shiraz, Merlot, and Grenache. So… go with what you enjoy since you will only use 1-2 cups. (240-480 ml).


    Apple Cider

    Apple Cider for Hot Mulled Spice | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    The most essential ingredient for an excellent hot mulled cider is apple cider (of course!). You will need fresh apple cider with no added sugar or spices (Don’t get “spiced” apple cider). Look for cider that is cloudy in the refrigerator section at the store. Not Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider for this recipe.

    For Scott’s Holiday Drink, he actually uses pressed apple juice, and his recommendation is TreeTop’s pure pressed 100% apple juice, which is also cloudy/unfiltered.


    Mulling Spices

    Mulling Spices for Hot Mulled Cider.

    My first Mulling Spices was a jar that came from Target that Scott left me with. Unfortunately, this brand does not exist anymore. So I was forced to look for alternative brands and I bought a few brands of mulling spices (already a mix of spices) and individual spices to make my own.

    Must-Have Spices

    • Allspice berries,
    • Cinnamon sticks
    • Dried orange peels
    • Whole cloves

    I learned that all the store-bought Mulling Spices include the above 4 spices in their blends.

    Add-On Spices

    • Cardamom pods – Highly recommend it!
    • Star anise – Highly recommend it!
    • Peppercorns
    • Whole nutmeg

    Short-Cut Mulling Spices Making

    If you do not want to buy individual spices (6 kinds!) to make your own Mulling Spices, you can purchase premade “Mulling Spices” that are available in the store.

    Mulling Spices for Hot Mulled Cider.

    They come in a bag or jar like these shown above. If you buy these premade mulling spices, you can get cardamom pods and star anise, which are the two spices I recommend adding.

    Make A Big Batch and Gift Your Friends and Family!

    These Homemade Mulling Spices are a great gift during the holiday. This recipe yields three 4-oz jars, which include 6 tablespoons of mulling spices.

    A mason jar containing Mulling Spices for Hot Mulled Cider.

    You can write down the instruction on how to make Mulled Cider or Wine on a craft tag and secure it with a red and white baker twine or holiday theme ribbon.

    Overview: How to Make Mulled Cider

    The full printable/written recipe with step-by-step pictures is below.

    1. Put the fresh apple cider (or apple juice), spices (loose spices or spices in a cheesecloth), and wine (if you add any) in a large saucepan.
    2. Bring it to a gentle simmer with low heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
    3. Turn off the heat, strain it if you use loose spices, and serve.

    White cups containing hot mulled cider garnished with orange slice and a cinnamon stick.

    Tips on Making Mulled Cider

    • Because dried and ground spices would end up making the drink cloudy, you’ll use whole or crushed spices for the simmering; not powdered spices.
    • Use a French/Dutch oven to heat up the Mulled Cider, which makes a beautiful presentation and retains heat very well.
    • You want the mixture to warm up and only simmer (absolutely no boiling!).
    • Add orange slices to the pot for a pretty look and fresh taste.
    • Serve the drink with a cinnamon stick.

    White cups containing hot mulled cider garnished with orange slice and a cinnamon stick.

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    5 from 1 vote
    White cups containing hot mulled cider garnished with orange slice and a cinnamon stick.
    Mulled Cider (With Wine) & Homemade Mulling Spices
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Cook Time
    15 mins
    Making Mulling Spices
    10 mins
    Total Time
    30 mins
     

    Infused with Homemade Mulling Spices, Mulled Cider (with or without wine) is the perfect drink to serve during the holidays. It fills your kitchen with a rich, spicy aroma that’s warm and welcoming as the drink itself! 

    Course: Drinks
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: holiday drink
    Servings: 4 (with some leftover)
    Author: Namiko Chen
    Ingredients
    • 2 QT fresh apple cider (½ gallon, 8 cups; you can also use unfiltered apple juice. Do not use sparkling cider or clear apple juice)
    • 2 Tbsp mulling spices (Homemade recipe below; 2 tablespoon of mulling spice per 2 QT of fresh apple cider)
    • 1 orange
    • 1 cup wine (optional; increase the amount as you like)
    • 4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks (optional; for garnish)
    For Homemade Mulling Spices
    • 8 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks (25 g)
    • ¼ cup whole cloves
    • ¼ cup allspice berries
    • cup dried orange peel
    • 2 Tbsp star anise (6 (1-inch, 2.5 cm) pieces)
    • 2 Tbsp cardamom pods
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients. For the best result, read more about apple cider (or apple juice) and red wine in the blog post.

      Hot Mulled Cider Ingredients
    2. In a 4 QT Dutch oven or large pot, add 2 QT fresh apple cider.

      Hot Mulled Cider 1
    3. Add the mulling spices to the apple cider. You can also use a tea bag or cheesecloth to keep the spices together for easy removal later.

      Hot Mulled Cider 2
    4. Cut the orange into thin slices and add them to the pot.

      Hot Mulled Cider 3
    Kids' Friendly; Non-Alcoholic Version
    1. Bring it to a simmer over low heat and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. DO NOT BOIL.

      Hot Mulled Cider 4
    Adding Wine; Alcoholic Version
    1. Add the red wine at the beginning (that's what I do) or at the end (so that the alcohol doesn’t evaporate too much).

      Hot Mulled Cider 5
    2. Bring it to a simmer over low heat and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. DO NOT BOIL.

      Hot Mulled Cider 6
    To Serve
    1. Ladle into cups/mugs, straining out the spices with a fine mesh strainer. Add an orange slice and a cinnamon stick for garnish, and serve hot.

      Hot Mulled Cider 7
    Make-Ahead
    1. Mulled cider can be made 2 hours ahead; cover and store at room temperature, or chill up to 3 days. Reheat over medium-low heat before serving.

    To Make Mulling Spices
    1. Gather spices. In this recipe, we use cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice berries, dried orange peel, star anise, and cardamom pods. You can add nutmeg and peppercorn if you like. Read more about these spices in the blog post.

      Mulling Spices for Hot Mulled Cider.
    2. To break up the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and star anise, put them in a large Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

      Mulling Spices 1
    3. You can use a pestle and mortar too. Once broken up, transfer to a large bowl (I use a mortar and a pestle).

      Mulling Spices 2
    4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl.

      Mulling Spices 3
    5. Stir to combine and divide evenly into 3 sealable jars while mixing the ingredients as some spices tend to settle at the bottom of the bowl. Store in an airtight container for up to one year.

      Mulling Spices 4
    Recipe Notes

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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