1 whole nutmeg
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 whole star anise
I teaspoon cardamom pods, pods removed
2 Mexican (canela) cinnamon sticks, broken apart
1 tablespoon dried hibiscus flowers
½ teaspoon cayenne chile flakes, or 1 teaspoon if you want it spicier
2 quarts fresh apple cider (local if possible; not from concentrate, no additives, unpasteurized if possible)
¼ cup dark brown sugar
zest of two oranges
garnish: 1 orange peel twist and 1 canela cinnamon stick per serving
- Put the nutmeg in a Ziploc bag, seal, set the bag on a cutting board, and then smash the nutmeg into small pieces by pounding fairly hard with a mallet. Reserve.
- Put the cloves, allspice, star anise, cardamom seeds in a mortar and grind coarsely with a pestle. (Or grind coarsely in an electric spice grinder.)
- Add the apple cider, sugar and orange zest to medium saucepan, along with all of the spices and cayenne, and bring to a bare simmer.
- Barely simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
- Strain and add back to a clean saucepan. Keep warm over low heat while serving.
- Ladle about 8-ounces of mulled cider into a 10-ounce clear glass mug. If you are serving with the optional liquor, add it now, and stir.
- Garnish with orange rind and a cinnamon stick. Serve hot.
MORE I just put the finishing touches (for now anyway) on the Apple Cider Primer. For selection, season, storage, hardening, cooking information, as well as a honed list of excellent resources, check it out.