Mulled Cider for the Holidays

Hot, spice cider is perfect for holiday cheer.

by FamilyTime


Mulled apple cider is nothing more exotic than heated, spiced cider. It may be spiked with brandy or whiskey, or it may be served with no alcoholic embellishment. Regardless of how you like it, it’s outstanding!

At this time of year, when we're offered cups of eggnog and mugs of hot chocolate, hot cider is a more healthful choice, and tastes just as good. Some might say better! It won't fill you up and it does not pack on the pounds.

Buying and Storing Cider
In recent years, consumers have been hesitant to drink unpasteurized apple cider, fearing it might be contaminated by E coli or other foodborne bacteria. For this reason, food safety advocates suggest buying pasteurized apple cider.

Apple growers say there is no discernible difference in taste between the two ciders, if the cider has been pasteurized properly. They also say unpasteurized cider is safe, although people with compromised immune systems, the very young and the elderly might want to avoid it.

Buy cider from reliable merchants or orchards. Buy it cold and keep it refrigerated. If you have any doubt about, bring it to a boil before drinking it.

Making Mulled Cider
Mulled cider is always served hot. This means you can use reliable unpasteurized cider as well as pasteurized. Heat it gently to at least 160 degrees F. Let the spices simmer for 10 to 20 minutes.

You can buy mulling spices in specialty stores, supermarkets, and gift shops. Some are sold in little sachet packets that you remove before serving.

You can also create your own sachet packets or add spices to the cider and then strain them from the hot cider before serving.

The most common spices for mulled cider are cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg – the very same ones we expect to find in apple pie!

Some recipes also call for ginger, oranges,lemons, allspice, and even brown sugar and butter.

Some mulled cider cooks add thinly sliced apples to the hot brew. Many serve the cider with long cinnamon sticks for stirring and decoration. In a few recipes, cooks suggest topping the cider with whipped cream.

For these cold, windy nights, many mulled cider aficionados pour a slug of applejack or Calvados (apple brandy) into the mug. You may prefer yours "straight" -- without the embellishment. Either wasy, it will warm you up as it satisfies.