Need a warm treat in colder weather? Here's how to make warm cider and warm red wine
We're on the verge of colder weather, so it's just the right time for a nice mug of something warm; and since it's fall, you should probably put some yummy, sweet spices in it.
We're not referring to a pumpkin spice latte. We're going to mull some drinks with real, whole spices. That's when you heat a liquid, gently, with spices, citrus, and sometimes sugar for a warm, comforting beverage that tastes just like sweater weather.
You can even find mulling spices in packages or even already mixed up in little tea bags if you don't have it all in your cabinet. (For good deals on larger bags of whole spices, we suggest one of our local ethnic markets.)
The ingredients are usually cinnamon, star anise, whole cloves, ginger, and/or whole allspice berries, although sometimes you'll find peppercorns, cardamom, nutmeg, and other sweet spices. Slices of fruit such as orange or lemon may be added.
It must be heated gently, to give the flavors of your ingredients time to infuse into the drink without being "cooked" and to avoid evaporating the alcohol if your beverage is of the adult variety.
Apple cider is a favorite mulling beverage, and cranberry juice works well with a spoon full of sugar. Wine, red or white can also be mulled − these have charming old-world names such as "wassail" and "gluhwein." Sometimes a bit of a harder liquor can be added. This makes it a toddy. For parties or all-evening sipping by the fire, try making your mulled drink in a crock pot. Scroll down for recipes.
Makes 1 gallon
- 1 gallon apple cider
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 3 star anise
- 4 coins of ginger
- 1 small orange
- 1 lemon
- Combine the cider with the whole spices and ginger in a large slow cooker. Slice the orange and lemons thinly and float on top.
- Heat the cider for 1-3 hours on low heat, lid on.
Makes 1-1/2 liters
- 2 (750ml) bottles dry red wine, we like shiraz
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 cup port (optional)
- Mix all ingredients in a slow cooker and bring to almost a simmer on high heat. Float oranges over the top.
- Turn off the cooker off and permit to rest at least 30 minutes before drinking. Don't let it boil or you'll evaporate the alcohol in your wine.
- For a juicier kick, add the port a few minutes before serving.