Spiked Mulled Cider
The beauty of mulled cider is its pliability. You can serve it hot or cold, with or without booze, which makes it a great option for a holiday party. Plus, nothing sets a more festive mood than a pot of hot mulled cider simmering on the stove, filling the room with cozy baking spice aromas.
My personal favorite way to enjoy mulled cider is cold over ice, spiked with Laird's apple brandy (I keep the bottle in the freezer). At my house, this is our Autumn equivalent to the Gin and Tonic (which we drink exclusively all summer long). Around October I start mulling half gallons of cider as needed and store them in the fridge. In fact, this is literally the only brown spirit drink my wife will touch.
For hot mulled cider - which has it's own special magic - you can, of course, have it right off the stove, but heating up a previously made batch in the microwave works just as well. And while applejack is my spiking spirit of choice, anything brown is great, particularly bourbon, aged rum, and brandy/cognac.
2 oz apple brandy (I recommend Laird's Bonded apple brandy) - or brown spirit of choice
4 oz mulled cider (or to taste)
Combine in a mug and heat in the microwave or build in a rocks glass over ice.
½ gallon apple cider
8 cinnamon sticks
½ tablespoon whole cardamom pods
½ tablespoon whole allspice
½ tablespoon whole cloves
2 whole nutmeg
zest of 1 orange
Combine all ingredients in a pot, the spices can be bundled in cheesecloth for easies removal later. Save the cider jug if you plan on storing it. Bring to a boil then take down to a simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and strain out the spices, or remove the cheesecloth bag. Served immediately or let cool to room temperature and funnel into cider jug and refrigerate. .
If you make a batch of Mulled Cider, let me see! Tag a photo with #socialhourcocktails on Instagram.