Nothing marks the arrival of winter like a cup of mulled something grasped firmly between mittened hands, slow curls of steam releasing the sharp scent of fermented fruit softened by the exotic warmth of seasonal spices.
This year, try a fresh take on a Christmas classic with our favourite mulled cider recipe. Take a full-bodied and slightly tart, traditional cider and combine it with spices like cinnamon, clove, ginger and star anise for a sweet and rich elixir that will warm you from head to toe.
The beauty of this drink is that it can be customised according to your personal taste. If the cider is too tart, balance the acidity with a sprinkling of sugar. If you prefer a sharper kick, a dash of lemon juice will do the trick, whilst a grating of root ginger will add a bit of bite. Create your own signature blend, taking or leaving any spices you like - just remember to choose spices that complement the apples, rather than overwhelm them.
If you're looking for a lighter, non-alcoholic version, simply substitute the cider for pressed apple juice. If you need a little extra warmth before the Christmas carol concert, add a tablespoon of brandy - you'll find it brings out those spicy, fruity aromas beautifully.
Cook it slowly and steadily; if you have a slow cooker, you can leave it to stew for hours or, failing that, keep it on the lowest heat on the hob. Either way, your house will be filled with the deliciously festive aroma of spiced apples.
1 litre Dry cider
2 Cinnamon sticks
2 Star anise
1/2 teaspoon Root ginger (grated)
40g Soft brown sugar
1 Orange sliced
Peeled zest of 1 lemon
- Place the cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and ginger in a large, heavy based saucepan and heat for a minute or two to release their flavours.
- Add the cider, fruit slices, sugar and zest and heat to the pan and heat over a low hear, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Keep on the lowest heat to keep it ticking over.
- When you're ready; serve it warm, ladled into mugs or chunky glasses.
Garnish with a cinnamon stick or apple slices - and enjoy!