Mull it over.
There is something perfectly autumnal about a mug of hot mulled apple cider. This mulled apple cider recipe combines a hint of bright orange, nutmeg, ginger, and just the right pinch of cloves for a delicious and quintessential seasonal drink.
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What’s the Difference: Apple Cider vs. Apple Juice
Apple cider is made from whole apples that have been ground into a mash, then pressed through a cloth. That’s it. No filtering, no boiling, no preserving. Just raw, pressed apples strained into a juice. Apple cider’s perishability means that it’s hard to find year round. This is why cider is primarily found during apple season.
Apple juice, on the other hand, is a more refined product. Apple juice is fully filtered until clear, and then pasteurized. This, along with vacuum-packaging, gives it a long, shelf-stable life.
Apple cider’s flavor tends to be more complex and round, with tart and earthy notes. Apple juice tends to taste more simple and sweet.
Kitchen Notes: This Hot Mulled Apple Cider Recipe
- Mulled cider needs about 10 to 15 minutes simmering on the stove to marry the flavors together. Longer is even better.
- Before serving, strain your cider to remove any larger particles of ginger or spice
- To garnish, try cinnamon sticks or very thin slices of apple. Topping with whipped cream and a dash of powdered cinnamon never hurt, either.
If you want to turn your hot mulled cider into a warming cocktail, the best alcohols to add to cider are generally dark spirits. Think rum, whisky, and bourbon.
How do you like your hot apple cider? Share below!
Hot Mulled Apple Cider
- 2 quarts apple cider
- 1/2 orange
- 2 cinnamon sticks, or 1/4 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
- 4 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger, or 1 rounded teaspoon of fresh-grated ginger
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, optional
- Pour the cider into a pot. Squeeze the juice from half an orange into the cider, and add the juiced rind to the pot as well.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except the brown sugar, if using.
- Bring the cider to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste to see if you would like it a bit sweeter and if so, add the brown sugar.
- Strain and serve, garnished with orange zest, thin apple slices, or cinnamon sticks.