Though mulled wine (gluhwein) is generally considered the most popular winter drink – at least in Europe – Mulled Cider is becoming increasingly common in the UK. As you can imagine, this warming drink is served almost universally in the cider pubs/barges/dungeons of the West Country at this time of year. With this recipe, it’s easy to bring the spicy, festive feeling of Mulled Cider home!
There are two things to remember when mulling; do not over-mull your cider and it’s best not to let it boil. Regarding the first point, 30 minutes should be sufficient to instill the flavours of your spices in the mulled cider – though taste as you go. Over-mulling your cider, or indeed wine, will only serve to mask the flavour of the cider, potentially to the point of unpleasantness. As for the second point, allowing the cider to boil will likely impair its flavour. Besides, it doesn’t need to be that hot – you’ll just scald yourself.
Local connection: If you live in Bristol and enjoy cider, consider popping into the Bristol Cider Shop on the Christmas Steps. The owner is very helpful indeed; he suggested sweetening the Mulled Cider with apple juice for a more natural flavour than is afforded by adding sugar. He also recommended using a dry cider – in this case Hecks Dry Farmhouse – as it can be sweetened to taste. It simply gives you a little more control of flavour.
• 1.5l dry farmhouse cider
• 6 cloves studded into an apple
• 4 star anise
• ¼ nutmeg, finely grated
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 4 cardamom pods
• Apple juice to sweeten, around 1l
• Juice of 1 orange and 1 clementine
1. Heat all of the ingredients, except the apple juice, together for 30-40 minutes – do not boil. Sweeten to taste with some good-quality apple juice, pass through a sieve and serve.
Cost: You should certainly use good-quality cider for this recipe and while this increases the cost a little, it is certainly worth it. Still, using apple juice certainly makes the cider go a little further. As such, this large batch of mulled cider should set you back in the region of £6.
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