If you want the perfect winter beverage, there are few things better than mulled cider. Nothing keeps you warm and toasty on a chilly winter evening quite like a steaming mug of spicy, rich cider. The smell of the spices will fill your home with a cosy ambience that will truly make it feel like Christmas every day!
Making the perfect mulled apple cider is much easier said than done! You have to have the right mulled cider spices, the right cider for mulling, cook it for the right amount of time, and the list goes on. Thankfully, we’ve got advice to help you learn how to make mulled cider the right way EVERY time…
Check out our tips on How to Make Mulled Wine at Home
Check out our tips on How to Serve Mulled Wine
What is Mulled Cider?
Mulled cider dates back hundreds of years, to the Wassail Night celebrations held all over England on January 5th.
Mulled wine is a drink that has been around since the Ancient Romans, but the British decided they had to have their own version. Apples are grown in abundance in England, so apple cider has always been much cheaper and more available than wine.
Just like mulled wine, mulled cider is basically hot apple cider that has been simmered with a variety of spices and herbs, giving it a rich, spicy flavour that combines perfectly with the warmth of the drink. It makes for an amazing party drink, as well as an ideal beverage to enjoy on a cold winter’s night.
The Best Types of Cider to Use for Mulling
If you want to know how to make mulled cider, you have to realise that it starts with the base ingredient: the cider itself. Without the right cider, your mulled cider recipe is doomed to failure.
The right cider:
- Is cloudy and has a good body.
The cloudy appearance means there is still some fibre and antioxidants in the cider, instead of just being plain apple juice. Cider that has a good body will have plenty of taste, but it will thin out nicely once you heat it.
- Has a rich, sweet flavour.
A strong apple flavour is a must, and the sweeter the apple, the better! With more sugar, the cider will be better-balanced and richer once you add the spices. Organic ciders are not made with apple concentrate or additives and therefore the flavours are intense and balanced. If a sweeter flavour is desired, you can always add a little sugar or even honey.
- Has a hint of acidity.
Too much sugar, and the mulled cider comes out so sweet that it’s almost cloying. You need just a touch of acidity to balance out the sugar and give it a well-balanced flavour.
Note: You can use tart ciders, but just make sure to add more sugar.
Here are a few recommendations of good ciders to use to make mulled cider:
Dorset Nectar Dabinett Medium Dry Still Cider – This medium-dry cider comes from Dorset, and is made using whole crushed Dabinett apples.
It has that natural artisanal flavour that makes it perfect for mulling at home, combining the rich taste of apples with a dry bite of acidity. It’s both fruity and smooth, and is an excellent option for those who like lightly-spiced ciders.
Dorset Nectar Dabinett Medium Dry Still Cider
Normandy Cider – It turns out the French aren’t just good at making wine, but they can make a mean cider as well! This soft, foamy cider is made with no extra sulfur added, giving you all the natural flavours of the fruit without additives.
A variety of apple types are used in this cider, and you’ll get a beautifully layered combination of flavours ranging from zesty to sweet to sharp to bitter-sweet. All in all, a brilliant cider for making a strong, heavily spiced mulled cider recipe.
Premium Cider – This premium organic cider is ideal for those who want a bit more kick in their drink. With its higher-than-average alcohol volume and its rich apple flavour, it makes a powerful mulled cider that’s brilliant to serve at a party or family gathering. Just don’t let the kids get their hands on it!
Premium Organic Cider
Wyld Wood Organic Cider – From the apple orchards of Herefordshire in England comes a delicious organic cider, one ideal for adding to any mulled cider recipe. The cider is produced using only organic apples, and it is matured in oak vats before bottling.
The result is a cider that slides down your throat easily and is soft on your palate, but which combines the flavours of a variety of apples for a well-balanced flavour.
Wyld Wood Organic Cider
If you’re planning on trying out a mulled cider recipe, these organic ciders from our selection will make one heck of a hot apple cider to enjoy on a winter’s evening!
Mulled Cider Recipes
Here are a few recipes to try out for a brilliant mulled cider:
Light Apple Cider
This recipe for mulled cider is ideal for those who prefer a lighter drink with a lower alcohol content. It still has all the rich spices you’ve come to expect from your favourite mulled cider, just without the “kick” of a stronger drink!
- 1 litre (2 x 500ml bottles) of apple cider
- 6 1-inch cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 3 cloves
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1/4 star anise
- To begin, set a cast iron frying pan on the stove and heat. Drop the spices into the pan once hot and toast until light brown and fragrant.
- Pour the apple cider into a pot, and add the toasted spices in as well. Cover the cider, turn the heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, turn the heat down to low and let it continue simmering for 20 minutes.
- Strain the spices from the mulled cider as you pour it into mugs, and enjoy!
Mulled Cider with a Kick
For those who like their cider to be a bit stronger, this is definitely the hot mulled cider recipe to try! The addition of sloe gin gives it an extra kick, as well as the delicious berry flavours you can’t help but love.
Use a stronger cider for the drink, and it will keep you warm and toasty inside and out all winter long.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 1 litre of cider
- 200ml of sloe gin
- Half a dozen cloves
- Four cinnamon sticks
- Sugar or honey (optional)
- An orange
- To begin, pour the apple cider into a stockpot, add the spices, and place on the stove. Turn the stove onto medium heat and bring to a simmer. Slice the oranges and add them into the cider. (Note: For extra apple flavour, pour a bit of apple juice into the cider.)
- Once the cider is simmering, turn the heat down to low and pour in the sloe gin. Add sugar or honey to sweeten as desired. Serve and enjoy!
How to Make Mulled Cider Just Right
Want to know how to make an awesome cider every time?
Here are a few tips to help you get it right:
Use the right cider
The ciders mentioned above are just a few options, but it’s a good idea to shop around and try a variety until you find the cider that works for you. You want to find the right balance of sugar, flavour, and tartness. Once you’ve found the “right” cider, stick with it!
Use spices for apples
Don’t use the same spices you’d use for mulled wine! Wine has a very different flavour than cider, so trying to use the same spices will lead to your cider tasting like mulled wine.
Instead, choose the spices that pair well with apples, such as:
- star anise
Make your own blend of spices every time, preferably organic!
Toast the spices first
Don’t throw the spices into the mulled cider raw, but take the time to toast them first. That will not only fill your home with the wonderful fragrance, but will bring out the natural flavours of the essential oils.
If you want rich, extra-tasty mulled cider with nuances and subtler flavours, definitely toast the spices instead of grinding them!
How to Make Mulled Cider in Slow Cooker
If you want to make mulled cider but don’t have the time to stand over the stove, why not use the slow cooker? The cider will only simmer, never boil, so you won’t have to worry about over-heating the liquid or burning the cider!
For those who want to make mulled cider in a slow cooker, here’s a simple recipe to try:
- 4 litres apple cider
- 375 ml bourbon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
- Pour the cider and the bourbon into the slow cooker, add in the spices, and stir well to ensure the spices are mixed.
- Set the slow cooker on the “High” setting, cover it, and cook for 90 minutes. Stir well, strain out the spices, and serve!
Follow the advice and recipes above, and you’ll make a top notch mulled cider every time. For those cold winter nights, there’s nothing like a mug of steaming apple cider to keep the chill out!