Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pondering Mulled Cider

My post seemed well-timed for the end to this Christmas season (which ended, as far as I know, on Saturday, with the Orthodox Christmas Day). After all, a hot beverage is perfect in winter, it's easy to prepare in large quantities to share at holiday gatherings, and what with the pondering Mary supposedly did (seriously, does not every other verse about Mary say she "pondered...in her heart"?), a mug of mulled cider seems very apropos. Now, of course, I didn't hit the "Publish Post" button until after the holidays are over, so perhaps you'll call me on that one. But I was writing it during the holidays. ;-)

I used to make mulled apple cider by adding three ingrediant together:  apple cider (which, for all intents and purposes, in today's grocery is identical to apple juice. I think a distiction used to be there because cider wasn't pasturized, but that's no longer true, at least in non-speciality stores); cinnamon sticks; cloves. And the only direction I used was this:  heat until hot.

I have since learned that mulled cider can (and should) be much more.  Mollie Katzen has the best home-mulled cider recipe I've found (and just because it's the only mulled cider recipe I've found is irrelivant).

     Mulled Cider from Sunlight Cafe

Note: I couldn't find my copy of Sunlight Cafe, which is why this post is late, but here's the basic gist and I'll update with exact specifications once I lay my hands on my cookbook!
  • container of apple cider (or, if you're feeling fancy, your own home-pressed cider!)
  • peppercorns, whole (aprox 10)
  • cloves, whole (aprox 10)
  • cinnamon sticks, whole (aprox 2)
  • cardomom pods (aprox 5)
  • ginger, fresh
Pour the apple cider into the pot or crockpot. Break up the cinammon sticks into 4 or 6 pieces. Peel and slice up some ginger (I found 1" pieces were good). Add the cinnamon, ginger, and other spices to the cider (either loose or contained within a mulin bag or cheesecloth). Steep and warm on med-low heat for at least an hour or two (though can be drunk [dranken? drinken?] as soon as the temperature appeals to you).

Aromatic. Tasty. Simple. But not boring. This is world-class apple cider. Mmmm....


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