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Mulled Cider (Spiced Apple Cider)

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Have you ever been enticed at a party by a wonderfully smelling mulled cider only to find that the taste was awfully bland or much too overpowering or filled with strange and unidentifiable flavors? I set out to come up with a formula for a mulled cider that had a clean, crisp taste with just the right mix of spices. Surprisingly, I found that by adding only five common ingredients, plain apple juice was transformed into the ultimate holiday beverage.

In the United States, apple juice and apple cider are almost exactly the same thing. Apple cider should not be confused with the products known as hard cider (which is a fermented product known to the rest of the world as "cider") or sparkling cider (a carbonated beverage made from apple juice). In fact, apple cider is a subcategory of apple juice. Apple cider is (supposed to be) the juice from apples produced by mechanical pressure. According to Wikipedia, apple cider is traditionally made from early-harvest apples and istherefore tangier than apple juice. In my experience and research, I haven't found any proof that this is true as a rule (although some brands will advertise that their cider is made from certain seasonal apples and prepared in a particular manner, I feel that these seem to be differentiating claims instead of applying to apple cider in general). Often, apple cider is associated with unfiltered apple juice, but you can find both unfiltered and filtered cider and juice labeled accordingly in the supermarket. In short, in the United States, there's really not much difference between apple juice and apple cider (speaking as a whole - some brands may differentiate their apple mixes to produce different flavors for their juices and ciders).

I like my mulled cider to be clear, so I generally use filtered apple juice or cider. I also use whole spices so they can be easily strained out before serving and don't leave a fine cloud or particulate matter and grit in my mulled cider. Some of the cider recipes that I've tried use coffee filters, the assembly of a bouquet garni, and other steps that I think are extra. This recipe uses a single pan, a strainer, and a zester or knife. I like it when it's simple.

To spice up one quart of apple juice, use one stick of cinnamon, about twenty whole black peppercorns, 3 whole cloves, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. (The sugar quantity can be reduced down to one tablespoon, but I like it sweet.) In addition to these four ingredients, prepare some zest from a citrus fruit. In this example, I used the zest from half a Meyer lemon, but lemons, limes, and oranges all work perfectly. Use the zest from half a lemon, lime, or lemon-sized orange for each quart of apple juice. If you're using medium lemons, use about a third of the zest. Large oranges - use a quarter of the zest per quart of juice.

Select a pot or pan large enough to hold all the apple juice. Toast the cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns to bring out their distinct flavors and aromas. Do this by simply heating your pan over medium heat with the spices in the pan. Toss the spices in the pan occasionally to prevent burning. The spices should become very fragrant within a minute or two.

Pour the apple juice into the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. When the apple juice gets warm, stir in the brown sugar so it fully dissolves.

Once the apple juice is boiling, reduce the heat so it just simmers (small bubbles form and rise to the top in a steady rhythm, but not at a furious rate). Add the citrus zest at this time. We don't add the zest earlier because we don't want the brief hard boil to break up the zest to the point where we will have difficulty straining it. If you're careful, you can add the zest with the brown sugar and watch the temperature to bring the juice up to simmering but not to boiling.

Maintain the simmer for thirty minutes. I do this with the lid off because it's easier for me to keep it at a constant simmer this way.

Pour the mulled juice/cider through a fine mesh strainer and into the container of your choice. If your cider has a great deal of particulate matter, you may want to place a cheesecloth or coffee filter in your strainer (or sandwiched between two strainers) to filter out the fine particles. Serve hot.

You can let the cider cool and then refrigerate for up to week. Bring it back up to a simmer before serving.

Mulled Cider (makes 4 cups)
1 quart apple cider or juiceheatdissolvesimmer 30 min.strain
1 cinnamon sticktoast
20 whole black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1 to 2 Tbs. brown sugar
zest from 1/2 lemon
This recipe can be scaled by simply scaling the ingredients. Leave the simmering time at thirty minutes.

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Written by Michael Chu
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49 comments on Mulled Cider (Spiced Apple Cider):(Post a comment)

On December 15, 2005 at 09:38 AM, kenhutton said...
Subject: English Mulled Cider
It is an old tradition in england to have mulled cider at christmas, but we use what you call hard cider, and preferably a good scrumpy (cider fermented with beer yeast).
If anyone knows a good recipie for this type of mulled cider, or if this recipie works, I would be interested to know.

On December 15, 2005 at 11:07 AM, an anonymous reader said...
It may not be obvious, but this is a perfect situation for one of those french coffee presses [or "bodum coffee pots"]... instead of straining....

On December 15, 2005 at 12:53 PM, Jayce (guest) said...
Subject: butter
Besides using honey instead of brown sugar, I've always added a pat of butter at the very end. A legacy from butter/rum combinations, but even sans rum, it adds a nice touch.

On December 16, 2005 at 08:01 PM, Rex (guest) said...
Subject: what about cider mills?
I think it's a mistake to completely ignore cider from a real cidermill. it's nothing like apple juice in the grocery store, and it's what I would call cider.

I suppose, depending on where you live, its probably not available. but here in Michigan, it's a Fall staple.

On December 17, 2005 at 01:13 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Apple Juice and Apple Cider are clearly not the same
I live in NE with a number of Orchads a mere 15 mins down the road I grew up drinking cider. Why? Because the rich deep flavor that cider has over apple juice.

Please reconsider, or even better, visit our area in the fall and try some fresh cider for yourself. I'm sure you'll agree, its very different.


On December 17, 2005 at 07:31 PM, Another New Englander (guest) said...
Apple juice != Apple cider

Still, this is a great, simple recipe. I still have some mulling spices that I got as a gift (from Crate & Barrel, Williams Sonoma, or somesuch), but once I run out I'll try this recipe.

On December 18, 2005 at 03:29 PM, Jon (guest) said...
Subject: Apple Cider, Spiced Coffee
Here in Massachusetts, apple cider is definitely not apple juice. That aside, I'm going to try this recipe.

Recently I picked up a can of spiced coffee at a specialty shop. It smells great, but didn't come out so well in the pot. I think, though, that I will try adding this simple mixture of spices to the basket of ground coffee. I think just the clove and cinnamon will do the trick.

On December 18, 2005 at 06:23 PM, NAFortis said...
As always, an excellent recipe, nicely presented. My compliments. <and, yes, I'll definitely try it.> Also, in some parts of the US--my childhood in the East in the Thirties comes to mind--apple cider is definitely ~= apple juice. Best regards to all hands: Naf

On December 18, 2005 at 08:13 PM, eltonyo said...
I have never tried mulled cider, and this afternoon, whislt my two kids were home on college break, and the family was decorating the Christmas tree, I decided to give this recipe a GO.... it seemed like the right time.

I followed the recipe exactly as written, and my whole family loved it.

And quite frankly, I was amazed how much the cider was transformed.

I will definately brew this up more often.

Thanks for the treat!

On December 21, 2005 at 01:25 AM, eltonyo said...
One more note (having brewed this for my work commrades a second time), and the recipe should note this, though you start with 4 cups of cider/juice in this recipe, when you are finished with the simmering for 30 minutes, you are left with only a little over 2 cups... to the chagrin of the cook/engineer!

Note: This is a good thing however, because the simmering process (without a lid) is also a reductionism, which helps concentrate the apple juice flavor. The recipe results should be modified, however, to reflect the fact that you get closer to 20 ounces of the final brew, and not 48.

(I know... these are details.... but i am a SCIENTIST dammit!)

Carry on. ;)

p.s. I also made the mistake of offering a small sample of this brew, from a hot thermos, to a co-worker, and i forgot to tell him it was boiling hot! He proceeded to gulp it down, and burned the taste buds off his tongue! He now talks with a lisp, and complains he can't taste food.

Such is life.... when living on the edge. :)

On December 21, 2005 at 02:35 AM, Michael Chu said...
Hmmm... I only lost about half a cup during my simmer.

In my last batch, I used Tree Top apple juice and had to cut out a lot of the sugar because the juice started off really sweet to begin with. When using Tree Top, consider making the mulled cider without any added sugar.

On December 22, 2005 at 09:51 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Apple Cider vs. Juice
I am both an engineer and a partner in an orchard/cider operation. Commercially the main difference between the two products is filtering with juice frequently undergoing a concentrating/reconstituting operation. True cider is from fresh squeezed apples and has a fine sediment (shake well before drinking, that is very good stuff! Oxidation turns the product brown. This is objectionable to many supermarket weaned people hence the filtering/concentrating operations. This is perfectly fine for a commercial process product but we feel some of the apple is lost as do the comments from the readers from the northern apple growing states (I'm a displaced New Englander in Minnesota). Making mulled cider from juice (sometimes referred to as "cider" in supermarkets) is OK, I've done this many times myself. I especially like the idea of using zest (one of my favorite ingredients) and I would not have considered peppercorns. I will certainly give this a try and thanks!
I didn't realize a cider/beer yeast mix was called "scrumpy". We learned by accident that a beer/cider mix is quite good. We also make hard cider from our unpasteurized product.

On December 24, 2005 at 02:37 PM, Ben Brockert (guest) said...
I understood what you were getting at, with regards to the difference between cider and juice (or the lack thereof). Though I'm not surprised that people argued it anyway.

Good recipe, one I'll try.

The "buy" at the very end should be "by".

On December 24, 2005 at 08:55 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Real apple cider
"Normal" apple cider is just mediocre juice from mediocre apples. It has no complexity nor depth the way cider apples do. You deride "hard cider" because you don't know what a cider apple can do. Fermented and aged cider apple juice is complex and subtley flavored, unlike "koolaid" apple-juice-cider. Kids like it, but not mature adults who have a developed sense of taste.

On December 27, 2005 at 07:52 PM, Ergolad said...
Subject: The Death Star
I'm no engineer, but I use The Force when I cook. My method for mulling cider, which is always a hit at my holiday gatherings, is ridiculously simple:
    1 Big a$$ bottle of Unfiltered Apple Juice from my local Trader Joes
    1 Orange
    1 Stick Cinnamon
    20 (or so) Whole Cloves
Right or wrong, about hour or two before I want to serve it, I take the orange, give it a good wash, stick it with cloves all over (so it looks like The Death Star), and then jab it with the cinnamon stick. I pour the entire contents of the bottle of juice into a large pasta pot and drop in The Death Star. I bring the whole mess up to a light boil and then bring it down to the lowest flame I can get out of my stove. It sits that way covered the whole night. Not only does everybody love it, but it gets better and better as the night goes on. At the end of the evening, if there is any left, I toss the orange and refrigerate the left-overs to heat another day.

Enjoy. It hasn't killed anyone yet, so I assume it's fairly safe.

"Keep on target."

On December 30, 2005 at 02:11 AM, amrc0308 (guest) said...
Subject: Cider
Just thought Id toss in my $.02

I made this mulled "liquid"-since we cannot seem to agree on cider or juice christmas eve. I used Martinellis juice, and 3 T sugar. After simmering the 30 mins I unintentionally let it sit on the counter with the spices in it for ~16 hours. I reheated it and was amazed at the flavor. It was a bit sweet because of the Martinellis, but what an amazing flavor. I used the lemon zest, and it brought a nice edge to the drink. I made it again using Tree Top juiice and drank it right away, and boy does it make a difference. It wasnt very good at all. My opinion to anyone is to try to use the real juice not the stuff from concentrate. Makes a huge difference. Just make sure to cut the sugar back and try before serving to check sweetness, and let it sit overnight to allow the flavors to blend.

On December 30, 2005 at 07:49 PM, guest (guest) said...
Subject: re: mulled cider
Select a pot or pan large enough to hold all the apple juice. Toast the cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns to bring out their distinct flavors and aromas. Do this by simply heating your pan over medium heat with the spices in the pan. Toss the spices in the pan occasionally to prevent burning. The spices should become very fragrant within a minute or two.

For the health-conscious who perform this step, it may be best to use a pan not coated with Teflon or other non-stick coatings. Examples include stainless steel and cast iron. Some concerns have arisen about toxic gases released from Teflon at temperatures required to preheat a pan. Skeptics who like their Teflon pans might consider toasting these ingredients for slightly longer times at lower temperatures.

On March 26, 2006 at 11:10 PM, an anonymous reader said...
I'm not an expert, but I do know this: I'm from Missouri, and we make a sharp difference between apple juice (the clear, supersweet stuff they give you in preschool) and apple cider (the dark, rich drink you can only buy in the fall). But I live in Canada now (Montreal, to be exact) and here everything is called apple juice - for it to be cider, it has to be alcoholic. But you can get the dark, sediment-y apple cider (just called juice) all throughout the year here. So maybe it's a regional difference?

On August 11, 2006 at 10:21 PM, nanaverm (guest) said...
Subject: Apple cider
As an additional treat, if you love cheese, try tossing a piece of cheddar, colby, longhorn, or other mild, stringy-type cheese in the bottom of your cup of hot cider. Eat it out with a spoon. If you're the kind that likes cheddar atop your hot apple pie, you'll really enjoy it!

On October 21, 2006 at 06:00 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Cheese in apple juice?
Cheese on pie?

Are you frigging insane?! Gross...!

On October 31, 2006 at 01:06 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Cheese in cider?
Wrong way round!

Having cheese flavoured with cider or apple is great, but sticking cheese in your cider is just weird.

Being British, I'm going to give this recipe a go with 'proper' (alcoholic) cider. It's also nice to hear that Snakebite (a vicious lager/cider mixture) has been discovered in the States. There's hope for you guys yet!

P.s. If you put a little blackcurrant cordial in too, you make the even more deadly 'Snakebite and Black'!

On December 11, 2006 at 04:57 AM, an anonymous reader said...
"In short, in the United States, there's really not much difference between apple juice and apple cider" Wrong, wrong, wrong. Perhaps in some very odd areas they don't get cider, but most everywhere else you can find apple cider when it's in season in the fall and year round if you look.

Heck, you can get apple cider in Walmart! I refuse to accept that there is no difference when you can find real apple cider in Walmart. Have you looked in the produce cooler? That's where alot of places keep it. Who knows why they don't just put it with the other juice, but whatever.

Apple Juice != Apple Cider. Clear cider can't exist. You've strained everything's just apple juice then! It's the sediment that makes it cider.

Enjoy your mulled apple juice, but call it what it is please!

PS - The verification letters incremented by one are INCREDIBLY annoying. I'm all about fighting spam, but COME ON!

On February 02, 2007 at 09:06 PM, BigbirdMD (guest) said...
Subject: my recipe
I have never used peppercorns (but I think I'll try next batch), but instead use 10-15 whole allspice. I like cinnamon, so for a half-gallon, I use about 8 sticks and about 15 whole cloves. The surface peel of half an orange goes in next and the whole half gallon simmers in the crock pot with the lid off. The mixture gradually concentrates and my home then smells of spiced cider and the winter dry air becomes more comfortable.

Because I have diabetes, I make a cup of sugar-free commercially marketed spiced cider and add about a quarter cup of my highly spiced concentrate to bring it up to speed, then add a bit of extra lemon or lime juice and sweetener to taste.

Rob McCormick, MD

On March 11, 2007 at 07:11 AM, auntizzy (guest) said...
Subject: straining spices
you might try placing all your spices after roasting them in a teaball, then you will only have to strain out the teaball and not have to search for the
spices. :)

On March 12, 2007 at 12:45 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Cider vs. Juice
In Utah (disclaimer: I am a displaced Californian, and I find Utah culinarily deprived), commercial "cider" is apple juice bottled with cinnamon. The locals serve it tepid; it is, shall we say, less than stellar.

On September 12, 2007 at 03:40 PM, another enginerd (guest) said...
Subject: ground spice versus whole
Another reason to use whole spices:

I don't mind not filtering out the spices, but when it's ground, it attaches to the back of your throat when you drink and is NOT pleasant!. I highly recommend whole spices. I don't put sugar in mine, but sometimes a dallop of honey is great too.

I will put allspice in it if I have some.

On October 20, 2007 at 12:10 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: visit a cider mill
To figure out what apple cider actually is, please visit a cider mill in Michigan (or any other fruit bearing area). The apples actually get fermented, just not fermented enough to turn into alcohol. So it's halfway between apple juice and hard cider.

On November 06, 2007 at 02:43 PM, JAG (guest) said...
Subject: Beer + Apple juice
No comment on the difference between juice and cider. Each to his own, as my Granpa said.

In Munich, and I assume the rest of Germany, one can order a marvelous drink called Radler, which is a mixture of beer and- in some biergartens, lemonade is used, and in others, Sprite. In my opinion, lemonade is better. The best is found at the Augustiner Monastery/Brewery, where the use a sparkling apple juice. If one uses dark beer, the drink is Russen. Prost

On December 01, 2007 at 11:57 PM, Ugali (guest) said...
Subject: cider v. juice
Big differences in cider v. juice ... cider is less filtered, and unpasteurized (hence its tendency to ferment if not drunk in short order, and the fact that it is sold refrigerated). Juice is more filtered, pasteurized, and vacuum sealed, and tends to have additives (sugar, water, preservatives, etc). One voter for cider in this camp!

On December 23, 2007 at 01:59 AM, none (guest) said...
Subject: cider
Cider and juice are not the same thing - I have been to several apple orchards and have seen them making both - they are very different!!! However, I am glad to hear that so many people love mulled cider. I think it is one of the most amazing drinks for a party on a cold wintry night. I always have a bottle of whiskey, dark rum or brandy nearby so anyone interested may add a shot to their cup. My mother will often throw a cup or 2 of cranberry juice into her apple cider which adds an interesting twist to the flavor - just another option one may try. I agree that whole spices are the best way to go and will have to give the lemon zest and peppercorns a try this year. I am actually having a cup right now!!!

On December 21, 2008 at 11:31 AM, ~j (guest) said...
Subject: modifications...
since i am from California, i would love to try the "REAL" non-alcoholic cider but the best i can do besides picking and pressing my own apples is to buy the unfiltered organic apple juice.

i agree a lot of juice evaporates so i only simmer it for 20 minutes (less for the "angel's share") also i'm torn if i should add any sugar at all. the juice wasn't terribly sweet and i put less than half a portion but it seemed to get sweeter as it simmered...also i wonder if allspice is better than adding peppercorns? how much allspice shoud i use?

i like to add orange slices for a garnish. in the end it's so nice to have a hot fruity drink when it's "cold" out and you can drive yourself home afterwards :)

On February 18, 2009 at 06:40 AM, MissJubilee (guest) said...
Subject: Other cider ideas
For the cider vs juice debate, I'm something of a traitor to my side - I come from New England, but lived in Virginia most of my life, and now being in China where "real" cider (non-alcoholic) isn't available (as far as I know), I have taken to using the word as it is in this recipe - spiced juice, really, but I call it "cider" and am understood by all the expats here who always ask for re-fills! My conscience has let me off the hook since it's such a hit :)

So, my mix of spices is:
starting with at least two liters 100% juice, add
two or three cinnamon sticks,
a dozen or more cloves pushed into a clean small orange (sometimes I make a cut in the skin too to let out a little more juice),
4-5 medium slices crystalized ginger,
a freshly-bruised whole nutmeg, and
3-4 large slices of apple with the skin still on.
And yes, it gets better the longer it simmers!

I also put in extra apple juice when I'm simmering apples for sauce, and then ladle the liquid out before crushing/processing the cooked apples. The liquid I mix in small amounts with plain apple juice to make "instant cider" or freeze it in larger batches to mix in with the cider recipe above. This adds apple particulate to the finished product, which personally I think is what makes it truly cider-ish. I describe it as a more "raw" flavor. (It's why I put slices of apple in the recipe above when I don't have this concentrate to work with... I don't know how much it helps, but it makes me feel better, anyway!)

On September 25, 2009 at 11:51 AM, CA (guest) said...
Subject: TopsfieldFair
How neat to have comments going on for three years about this recipe.
I couldn't resist giving my $.02 so here goes.
I'm also from New England (MA) where cider is certainlly made from real apples.
If you've ever been to Topsfield Fair, every first week of October in Topsfield MA, you can see the process done right there before your very eyes and it's really cool to watch and even more delightful to drink. (watch out for the bees they love it too)
I suspect however that folks love to enjoy a "tanged up" anything and that is why we sit here sharing our ideas on how to get that delicious cider taste from our own kitchens for lack of the right equipment.
I've never had a better cider than that at the fair. But here is my kitchen recipe...

Crock pot, high setting
Fill it up with apple juice Not from concentrate, like Stewarts if you've ever had that. (I've used frozen with water too, it's ok)
small orange, sliced
some clove, not too much
3-4 cinnamon sticks
add sugar; brown, splenda, stevia, cinnamon sugar whatever (start off with a little then increase as desired)
tbs ginger
tsp nutmeg
Give it a good stir and let the heat do the rest. The longer it sits the better, but its ready to go in a few hours. Try to strain out the clove with a mesh scoop if you have it but I wouldn't worry about straining the whole batch. WATCH OUT, it will be hot!
The crock pot can be placed anywhere you'd like it to for entertaining, so that's a plus when preparing it this way.
Enjoy all you Autumn / holiday cider extremes! I love it!
And I love you!!!!!

On October 11, 2009 at 07:52 PM, Guest (guest) said...
Subject: Mulled Cider
I'm from NYC originally, where people might think of apple cider and juice as the same thing, but I lived for many years in Ulster Country, NY, where the best apple cider in the world is made (sorry Massachusetts) and have to vote strongly that there is a big difference between a cup of hardy apple cider and it's cleaned up little brother, juice. I would never think of adding rum to juice, for example. Love all the mulling recipes here, except for adding sugar. A little rum or bourbon, perhaps, and a thermos to take it ice skating.

On October 26, 2009 at 12:08 AM, Harriets69 (guest) said...
Subject: Real apple cider
[b:57ec6cf015]There is nothing like real pressed apple cider! I live in Florida and have never found the kind of cider the Amish have in Pennsylvania!
Down here, to me it just tastes like plain old apple juice.
I would give anything to find the real stuff! Maybe I will have to load up the car and take a drive North soon!!!! :unsure: [/b:57ec6cf015]

On November 03, 2009 at 04:57 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Great Recipe
This is an easy and fun recipe I'm doing with my kids tonight. My husband is a geologist, thought, so I probably won't mention where I got the recipe (the battle between the engineers and the geologists rages at his consulting firm). Thanks for the great ideas. Nicely presented, too.

On November 16, 2009 at 08:31 AM, Robin (guest) said...
Subject: Northern NJ thoughts
LOVE the banter and the recipe! The cider-juice difference must be a pinch of semantics, a whole lot of engineering egos --and dollop of which region you're from. I live in northern NJ (near several orchards) and what you call it truly depends upon where you grew up! :) Here, there's a big difference in product but the name gets confused all the time. It seems to me that if it is freshly pressed, it is cider. We have a deer problem in the area and sadly, many local orchards are no longer making cider because they don't have the equipment to pasturize it (to prevent bacterial issues). Even pasturized, cider is still quite different looking and tasting than juice.

Regarding the recipie: Last night was the first time I ever made it! I didn't have peppercorns and hadn't thought of toasting all of the spices first! I plan to go shopping today! great IDEAS! :D i can't wait to taste it!! In the past, my friends have made it with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cardemom and a little coriander. It sounds very much like pumpkin pie spices to me...I've also had it with an added touch of orange juice but no sugar. Lemme know what you all think, if you try it that way! By the way, the teaball works wonderfully. Don't burn yourself adding your spices to the teaball!! :shock: Enjoy and thanks to all for sharing!!!

On December 09, 2009 at 06:41 AM, OsakaWebbie (guest) said...
Subject: "Cider" in Japan
You guys think it's hard to define cider where you live - at least your neighbors know it comes from apples! I don't know what happened to cause this, but in Japan the word "cider" means a carbonated soft drink, usually the kind flavored like Sprite or 7-up - the most famous brand is Mitsuya ("three arrows") Cider (see the Wikipedia article).

We have Christmas parties every year for various groups of people (a primary motivation is to tell them what Christmas means - most of them have no idea!), and when we can, we make mulled cider. Like MissJubilee who wrote earlier from China, in Japan also there is no such thing as either the northern U.S. definition of cider (cloudy brown flavorful fresh stuff - I grew up in Indiana, so I know about that) or the British definition (Applejack), so I have to use ordinary apple juice. I have always just used lots of cinnamon sticks and cloves, but this year I'll try the citric zest and maybe even the peppercorns (sounds daring - I may start with just a few). Or maybe it would be fun, especially for a party with kids, to make the afore-mentioned "death star" - the winter tangerines here (called mikan) are small, great-flavored, and the skin is quite thin - almost no white pith at all, so no bitterness.

But we always have to explain what cider is. Since even the western world can't agree on the definition, we usually just say that is a substance similar to apple juice but a little different, and leave it at that. Merry Christmas!

On December 18, 2009 at 12:42 PM, queensaltine (guest) said...
Subject: Mulled cider
I tried this recipe last Xmas for friends...what a hit! The peppercorns add bite but its subtle. After toasting the seasonings, I tied them in a cheesecloth bag and let it simmer in the REAL local cider I bought from a farm that has a cider press. Needless to say I'm making this recipe again next week when company comes. Oh, and don't forget to leave out a bottle of spiced rum for guests to add as needed.....YUM!

On December 22, 2009 at 10:55 AM, NCO (guest) said...
Subject: Apple Cider Recipe
Just received a new recipe, made it last night and everyone loved it. I will add a little rum for myself...

Hot Mulled Cider, By: P. Allen Smith
2 Quarts Apple Juice or Apple Cider
2 Cups Orange Juice
1 Cup Pineapple Juice
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Teaspoons Cloves
1 Teaspoon Allspice
1 Teaspoon Powdered Ginger
Orange Slices for Garnish


Start by combining the juices in a large pot. You can substitute the apple juice with apple cider. The difference between cider and juice, officially, is the cider is slightly fermented which makes it a bit effervescent and it contains a percentage of alcohol.

Add to the brew a half a cup of brown sugar, two cinnamon sticks, two teaspoons of cloves, one teaspoon of allspice and one teaspoon of powdered ginger. Now, cook all of this over medium heat until it begins to boil and then reduce the heat and let it simmer about 15 minutes longer.

To finish it off, garnish with a few fresh orange slices. This recipe makes enough for ten. As you can imagine, with all of these spices, the aroma is incredible. What better way to have your entire home to smell like the holidays and what a delicious treat for friends and family when they drop in. Enjoy!

On December 22, 2009 at 03:59 PM, UnclearFizzyCyst (guest) said...
Subject: Hmmmm, peppercorns...mmmmmm
I use a centrifugal juicer quite a bit, both for juicing and cooking.

Use 8-10 nice fresh SCRUBBED red apples (you want that touch of pithiness) per quart of juice.

Strain it (I use a fine strainer followed by a paper kitchen towel, be patient).

Follow this recipe but reduce peppers to 7, add 2 star anise (whole stars), 5 allspice and toast with the rest.

Use a tea strainer ball for the 'bitty bits'.

Bring to a simmer in a crockpot and simmer 1/2hr or so until it tastes good.

Strain. Return to crockpot set to 'warm'. Garnish with a clove stick, lemon slices and a death-star (nice touch). I use a Clemantine.

Serve with brown sugar and poisonous volatile hydrocarbons of choice.

A knob of butter during heating will trap the spice volatiles but I prefer an un-greasy drink. Do NOT boil above a gentle simmer, all the best flavors will boil off.

On January 04, 2010 at 09:19 AM, sharoni (guest) said...
Subject: three words for you
crab apple jelly. add that to your mulled cider and it's brilliant.

Also I don't get this whole cider/juice thing... Here in Australia proper cider is made from proper cider apples and is alcoholic.

If pulpy apple juice is apple cider does that make pulpy orange juice orange cider?

lol I kid.

On September 04, 2010 at 07:10 PM, Abigale (guest) said...
Subject: Love the cider!
I really love this recipe. Toasting the spices is key, and something I hadn't thought of.
I used cranberry juice instead of apple, and added a little honey to sweeten it, and it turned out really well.


On December 26, 2010 at 04:13 AM, Cristal said...
Subject: Cider vs Juice
I work in a grocery store, and when it comes right down to it, the Cider and the Juice you can buy off the market shelf is pretty much the same thing. The Companies market it both ways to draw in customers from both crowds.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I think it's the same. We have a local Historic orcherd here and every year they do a Cider Squeeze. True Cider has a cloudy apperence and a much richer (and less processed) taste. But True cider is not processed, not strained, not pasturised, and definately not shelf-stable. So the major companies have to find a way to make it so, or loose half their consumers.
Now a days some companies are coming out with true cider, even organic stuff. But for the best stuff I would look for near the produce department, and in refrigeration.

As for the recipe it sounds excelent. We tend to get the packets of Spiced Cider, but this might be a good alternative. I'll be giving it a try in the near future.

On December 31, 2010 at 04:55 PM, Fuzzychris (guest) said...
Subject: Apple Cider
Yes, here in Massachusetts there is definitely a difference between cider and apple juice. And I'm not sure if it should be considered cider if it's pasteurized. It's really hard to find it unpasteurized now. In Mass. (and I think in all the other New England states) it's only allowed to be sold directly from an orchard. Pasteurized cider will not ferment, and I think it needs to be just slightly fermented. Otherwise it's just too sweet.

On October 15, 2011 at 02:09 AM, trig (guest) said...
Subject: Recipe
I have opposite tastes, I prefer my mulled cider to be sludgy :) I use very lightly filtered cider, extra pulp OJ, and a mix of ground / whole spices. Here is the recipe.

1 gallon unfiltered cider
half gallon extra pulp OJ
half gallon strong brewed orange pekoe tea
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs all spice (or a small handful of whole allspice whichever)
1 whole nutmeg freshly ground
20-25 whole cloves (mine are old so you might want to start at 10ish)

The spices (especially cloves) will become stronger the longer you cook it up to a point. I prefer the taste the cider takes from boiling so I will let it boil for a bit, 15 min or so. Then turn it down and just let it simmer on the stove all day, makes a hearty drink and a wonderful smelling house.

On October 16, 2011 at 06:29 PM, an anonymous reader said...
try mixing cider and applejuice tastes like applepie

On October 30, 2013 at 06:15 PM, Luke (guest) said...
Subject: Mulled cyder
@kenhutton: I am a chef patron of a small bristol (UK) pub and one thing we know about in Bristol is Cyder!
I am happy to share my mulled cyder recipe. 3 litres dry cider, sugar (to taste) zest of 2 clementines, 1/2 nutmeg, 12 cloves, tsp peppercorns, 20g of fresh ginger, 6 cardomon pods, small sprig of fresh thyme, 1 scotch bonnet, 1 star anise

no need to toast the spices, just gently warm them together in a pan (less than a simmer) for 1-2 hours. The scotch bonnet should be added in the last hour and will provide a beautiful floral aroma and gentle warmth but be very carful not to break the skin or the brew will take on an INTENSE heat.

FYI: In the UK the difference between cider scrumnpy is the apples used. scrumpy is made with eating apples and consequently has a very short shelf life (not brewed with beer yeast as someone suggested) where as cider brewed of cider apples which are unfit for eating or cooking due to a very high tanin content. these tanins preserve the brew for long periods

On October 27, 2023 at 01:46 PM, Darryllswife (guest) said...
Subject: The absolute best
My late husband used this recipe for years. Iím so thankful that the recipe is still online because I use it every year and my copy has gotten a bit weathered.
Absolutely love it. Thanks

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