This is my go-to drink for chilly autumn days. I love that I can make a big batch of it in the crockpot for gatherings or just a single mug to take the chill out on a rainy fall evening.
I love mulled wine and will be sharing my recipe for that in the near future, but one of the things I love about mulled cider for a crowd is that you can make it with spirits or non-alcoholic.
It couldn't be easier to make. A lot of this is personal preference, so I'll tell you how I make it for a crowd and then how I make it for single serve.
I love William Sonoma's, Sur La Table's, and Stonewall Kitchen’s mulling spices. I pick up a few bottles at the start of the season and use them in both mulled wine and mulled cider. I used to add them in and strain them out before using, I have since purchased a large tea strainer and it works perfectly for this. I can infuse the spices without having to strain them out, and I can leave them in while the cider is in the crockpot, increasing the flavor.
In either a large pot if you're making this stovetop or in the crockpot add your apple cider and a few cinnamon sticks. Fill a large tea strainer with mulling spices and place in the pot. I also like to add anise extract and rum extract for extra flavor, but that's up to you if you like those tastes or not.Cut up orange slices and apple slices and float in the cider.
Bring the whole thing to a simmer and then keep warm for serving.
If you're enjoying it sans alcohol, pour it into a mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick and an apple or orange slice. I have a little tip to save on cinnamon. If you go to the grocery store and go down the spice aisle, cinnamon sticks are very expensive. However, if you go to the international cuisine aisle (if your grocery store has one) you can get a large tub (around 20) of cinnamon sticks for around $5. Compared to $6 for a small bottle with maybe 10 if you're lucky.
If you're serving it at a party, I like to leave brandy, rum, and butterscotch schnapps for people to add to their mugs if desired. Each has a unique flavor and is delicious. Calvados (an apple brandy) is also an obviously delicious addition. It's fun to play around with different liquor combinations. You can set up a whole bar area for the cider if you like with cinnamon sticks, cut fruit, and different liquors and spirits.
I love a drink that feels unique to a season, and this soul warming libation does just that! Let me know what combinations you come up with!