Spiced Mulled Cider

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

There's more to mulling cider than swirling in a couple sticks of cinnamon. This spice blend yields a balanced, flavorful cider while remaining true to the base flavor of apples. You can customize it to your own tastes (more brandy, for example, for a harder brew), but the star anise, coriander, and cardamom—all friends of apples—is what makes it stand out.

This recipe is formulated for a small batch of cider; you can multiply it if need be, though your steeping time may vary.

Spiced Mulled Cider

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About This Recipe

Yield:4 to 6
Active time:5 minutes
Total time:4 hours
Special equipment:slow cooker, small musin spice bag (optional)
This recipe appears in: Spice Hunting: 5 Tips to Brewing a Better Mulled Cider

Ingredients

  • 1 quart high-quality apple cider
  • 3 3-inch sticks cinnamon
  • 5 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods, pressed until they just crack open
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • Raw sugar to taste, only if needed

Procedures

  1. 1

    Turn slow cooker to high and add apple cider. Cover and set aside.

  2. 2

    Heat a small skillet on medium-high and add spices. Toast, stirring frequently, until fragrant and coriander seeds begin to darken. Set aside and either transfer to a reusable spice bag or add loose to cider.

  3. 3

    Cover and let cider mull on high (reduce if it begins to bubble) for about 4 hours, or until spice flavor is well-infused. Ten minutes before serving, add brandy. Add sugar, rounded teaspoon at a time, if cider is too tart (sugar will bring out flavor of spices if needed).

  4. 4

    Serve plain, or with a slice of lemon, extra brandy, or a small grating of nutmeg. If keeping warm for service, remove spices.

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