There's more to mulling good 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 (using more brandy, for example, for a harder brew), but the star anise, coriander, and cardamom—all friends of apples—are what make 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.
- Yield:Serves 4 to 6
- Active time: 5 minutes
- Total time:35 minutes to 4 hours
- 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 pod
- 1 quart (900ml) high-quality apple cider
- Optional additions (see note): 1 tablespoon (15ml) brandy, raw sugar, lemon zest
- Extra brandy, lemon slices, and/or freshly grated nutmeg, for serving (optional)
Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and add spices. Toast, stirring frequently, until spices are fragrant and coriander seeds begin to darken. Add loose to cider, or add to cider in a cheesecloth sachet or a reusable spice bag for easy removal later.
Add apple cider to a 2-quart pot or slow cooker. Cover and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to maintain simmer and cook for 1 hour, or until spice flavor is well infused. Alternatively, for a less cloudy final cider, cover and mull over low heat for 4 hours, without allowing cider to bubble.
Just before serving, adjust seasoning of cider with brandy, raw sugar, and/or lemon zest, if needed (see note).
Serve plain, or with a slice of lemon, extra brandy or other liquor, or a small grating of nutmeg. If keeping warm for service, remove spices.