Few things set a more festive mood than a pot of hot mulled cider simmering on the stove. Largely because it fills the room with warm and cozy baking spice aromas.
The beauty of mulled cider is it can be applied in a variety of ways: hot, cold, spiked or unadulterated, making it a great option for a party.
If you decide to add fortification, pretty much anything brown will do - bourbon, aged rum, cognac, apple brandy, etc. For parties, you can either spike the whole batch or it can be fun to put an assortment of bottles and guests can choose their own adventure.
Don't overlook cold mulled cider. It may sound counter-intuitive, but trust me. Try it over ice with apple brandy and maybe a dash of Angostura bitters. That's the only brown-spirit cocktail my wife will drink, and it's her go-to in the fall (seriously, my wife doesn't drink whiskey. More for me...).
Recipe - makes about 30 servings
1 gallon apple cider
10 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cardamom pods
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 tablespoon whole cloves
4 whole nutmeg
zest of 2 oranges
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Combine all ingredients in a pot. The spices can be bundled in cheesecloth for easy removal later. Bring to a boil then take down to a simmer for 45 minutes, or until the cinnamon sticks begin to uncoil. Remove from heat and strain out the spices, or remove the cheesecloth bag. Served immediately or let cool and store in the refrigerator. Will keep for at least a month.
Spiked Mulled Cider
2 oz brown spirit of choice: bourbon, aged rum, cognac or apple brandy.
4-5 ounces of cider
Combine in a mug and heat in the microwave or a rocks glass over ice.
If you make a batch of Mulled Cider, let me see! Tag a photo with #socialhourcocktails on Instagram.