This recipe appears in:Spice Hunting: 5 Tips to Brewing a Better Mulled Cider
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.
- 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
Turn slow cooker to high and add apple cider. Cover and set aside.
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.
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).
Serve plain, or with a slice of lemon, extra brandy, or a small grating of nutmeg. If keeping warm for service, remove spices.