Mulled apple cider and wine are welcome guests at fall and winter gatherings. And they have a side benefit: Your house smells wonderful when guests arrive.
Serve hot mulled apple cider with -- yes -- doughnuts. Put out a wide selection that includes traditional glazed, chocolate frosted, vanilla frosted, cake with vanilla frosting and sprinkles and chocolate. A fall treat like no other.
Serve mulled wine with more sophisticated snacks -- gourmet cheeses, artisan and French bread, fancy crackers and your favorite dolled-up hors d'oeuvres. This is an adults-only bash.
This spice mix makes a nice gift for friends who enjoy mulled apple cider or red wine. If you are giving spice bags as a gift, be sure to include the recipe instructions.
- 3 ounces whole cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole pieces of nutmeg (1 ounce)
- 1/3 cup chopped dried orange peel
- 1/3 cup chopped dried lemon peel
- 1/4 cup allspice berries
- 1/4 cup whole cloves
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped, crystallized ginger (1 ounce)
- 14 double-layer cheesecloth 5-inch squares
- 14 (10-inch) lengths of white string
- Place cinnamon sticks and nutmeg into a heavy freezer bag.
- Pound the spices with the bottom of a small heavy skillet or kitchen mallet to break them into small pieces.
- Place the spices in a bowl and stir in the orange peel, lemon peel, allspice, cloves, and ginger.
- Place about 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture in the center of each cheesecloth square.
- Tie the cloth securely with the string.
Making Mulled Apple Cider or Red Wine
Each bag will spice a 750 ml bottle of red wine (3 1/4 cups) of wine or 1/2 gallon (8 cups) of apple cider.
To make mulled red wine, you just mix in water, sugar, and spices. If you have made up spice packets you can substitute one for each bottle of wine for the spices in the recipe.
To make mulled apple cider, all you need is the spices. Just bring the mix to a boil, cover the pot and simmer for about a half an hour. Here are some tips to make a tasty brew.
Best Wine for Mulling
Mulling covers up many of the subtleties of wine, so first, don't waste any Benjamins on the really good stuff. Look around on the middle shelves for medium-priced bottles -- not too cheap but not much more than 20 bucks.
You want a big, bold, dry red wine to shine through the mulling so you don't get a mouthful dominated by the spices. Go with a malbec, zinfandel or syrah/shiraz. Blends are usually cheaper; a blend of two or even three of these varieties would be a fine choice.