I’m not quite sure why mulled wine has become such a classic British drink at Christmas. Apple cider is a more traditional beverage after all. I’m as partial to a glass or two of mulled wine as anyone else, but given the choice I’d go for mulled cider every time. It has a lighter, fruitier and more refreshing taste. You don’t need to add as much sugar either. Mulled apple juice can be served alongside or even instead of, allowing drinkers and non-drinkers alike to join in the festive cheer.
At a time of year when it’s cold, wet or grey, a drop of mulled cider or apple juice is warming, cheering and tasty. It also acts as an air freshener for the house, filling it with the scent of fruit and spices. Mulled cider or mulled apple juice are very easy to make, the main thing that’s required is time for the flavours to infuse. Stud an organic orange with cloves, slice some apples, throw in a cinnamon stick, some cardamom pods and a grating of nutmeg and you’re done. A dash of calvados, if you have it to hand, can add to the general merriment. If you’re really pushed for time, you could just use an organic mulled cider spices pouch from Steenbergs.
For more festive recipes, head on over to the Tin and Thyme Advent calendar where you’ll find a delicious Christmas recipe from a fellow blogger behind each door. And don’t forget to head over to the Tin and Thyme Christmas gift guide if you’re in need of ideas for food loving friends and family.
So how about ditching the mulled wine this year and trying mulled cider instead?
Mulled Cider or Mulled Apple Juice
- 25 cl water
- 1-2 tbsp golden granulated sugar for mulled cider only
- 1 organic orange
- 6 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cardamom pods
- a grating of nutmeg
- 1 litre apple cider or apple juice
- 1 dessert apple - sliced
- a dash of calvados or apple brandy optional
- Pour the water into a large pan and place over a moderate heat.
- Stir in the sugar according to how sweet you like it. You won't need any if using apple juice.
- Half the orange and stud one half with the cloves. Juice the other half and add both to the mix.
- Throw in the spices and bring to the boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Add the cider (or apple juice) and warm the mixture until it's not quite simmering. Keep at this temperature, stirring occasionally for 8-15 minutes. Any alcohol will be lost if it reaches boiling point.
- Remove from the heat, add the apple slices, stir in the calvados or apple brandy if using and pour into a serving vessel or ladle straight into glasses.
Other recipes for festive drinks you might like
- Diet-friendly eggnog via The Crafty Larder
- Feeney’s gingerbread latte martini via Domestic Gothess
- Gin & Appletiser – a refreshing Christmas cocktail via Fuss Free Flavours
- Mulled gin and ginger beer winter warmer via Foodie Quine
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