If there’s nothing more American than apple pie, then apple cider must be the quintessential American drink. On it’s own, apple cider is delicious… but when you smell the spicy fragrance of mulled apple cider and take a sip of the warming beverage, you’re in for a whole new treat. It brings to mind autumn colors, fresh apple harvests, and curling up by the fire with a nice, hot drink.
Traditionally, mulled apple cider contains alcohol, and so does this recipe. But it’s very easy to make a nonalcoholic version of the drink: just omit the alcohol.
Mulled Apple Cider
Preparation time: 30 minutes
4 pints apple cider, fresh-pressed if possible
1 apple, large
12 cloves, whole
1/2 unpeeled orange, sliced
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 cinnamon sticks, medium
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup Calvados (apple brandy)*
First, you must prepare your apple. Wash it under the faucet, but don’t peel or cut it. Once it’s clean, pierce it in twelve places and insert the cloves into the apple.
Next, you want to prepare the cider. In a large pot, combine the cider with your clove-filled apple, the sliced orange (remembering to leave the peel on), the maple syrup, the sticks of cinnamon and the allspice. Stir the mixture together and put the pot on your stovetop over high heat. When the mixture begins to simmer, turn the heat down so that it’s just barely simmering. Let it simmer like this for fifteen minutes.
After that, take the cider off the burner and use a strainer, slotted spoon, or mesh sieve to filter the mulled cider. Add the Calvados and stir to combine.
Now that your mulled cider is done, you can ladle it into mugs, glasses or even teacups to serve it. Make sure you serve it hot – if you refrigerate any leftover cider, reheat it on the stove before serving. To be extra festive, try garnishing your mugs with a cinnamon stick, a twirl of orange peel, or even a whole orange slice.
* If you don’t have Calvados, you can substitute brandy, whiskey or dark rum
It’s easy to alter a mulled apple cider recipe based on what spices you like. Increase or decrease the cloves, cinnamon or allspice according to your taste; leave out the maple syrup if you don’t like it. A few common and delicious additions are cardamom (around 10 pods), nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon) or ginger (a 1-inch fresh piece). These should be added at the same time as the other spices – before simmering the cider.