This mulled apple cider is easy to make and is a wonderful warming drink for colder months and festive occasions. This version is made with non alcoholic cider making it a kid friendly treat the whole family can enjoy.
Whats the difference between apple cider and apple juice?
In the USA apple cider usually refers to raw apple juice that has not been filtered. It therefore contains more pulp and sediment particles and has a cloudy appearance. It may or may not be pasteurised. It is not usually fermented and there is therefore non alcoholic. Outside the USA apple cider is often referred to as cloudy or unfiltered apple juice.
Outside the USA the term cider usually means apple juice that has been fermented and therefore contains alcohol. In the USA this is referred to as hard cider.
Apple juice the world over may or may not be filtered, and may be called cloudy apple juice or just apple juice. Check the label in the country you're in, especially if making this recipe for families and children.
Apple cider: to keep things family friendly I have used non alcoholic cider, sometimes called cloudy apple juice. You can make this boozy by using alcoholic (hard) cider and or adding ½ a cup of brandy or your favourite alcoholic liquor that pairs with apple.
Cinnamon sticks: whole cinnamon sticks give this recipe a lovely warming flavour without making it gritty. If you don't have whole cinnamon sticks you can substitute with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon instead.
Whole cloves: are a classic warming spice but you don't need much. I find whole cloves give a lovely flavour without grittiness. You need to strain or scoop them out before serving, especially to kids.
Whole star anise: whole star anise have a lovely aniseed or licorice flavour and they are very pretty. If you're not a fan you can leave them out.
Ginger root: I use slices of fresh ginger root in this recipe. If you can't get fresh ginger root you can substitute with half to one teaspoon of ground ginger, depending on how gingery you like it.
Apples: I used red apples in this recipe but you can use whatever apples you like, as long as it one you like eating.
Oranges: I use oranges in this recipe to give it some extra citrus tang but you could replace this with other citrus such as mandarins, tangelos or even grapefruit.
How to make mulled apple cider
Slices the orange and apple into thin slices. For extra prettiness you can carefully cut some star shapes out of the apple slices with a star shaped cookie or biscuit cutter.
Add the slices oranges and apples to a large pot. Gently shake the apple cider or cloudy apple juice if needed to reincorporate any settling that may have occurred. Pour apple cider into pot. Add cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise and slices of ginger root.
Give it a good stir. Cover with a lid and bring to boil on the stove, then simmer for about thirty minutes, longer if you want it to take on more of the flavours from the spices.
How to serve
Using a slotted spoon carefully remove the whole cloves and cinnamon sticks. Ladle the hot cider into heat proof glasses or mugs with some slices of orange and apple and garnish with a cinnamon stick if you like.
How to store
This apple cider is best eaten on the days its made, but will store covered in the fridge for up to three days. Make sure you strain out the spices before storing or the spices will over spice the cider.
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Mulled apple cider
- 2 medium apples
- 2 medium oranges
- ½ gallon (2 litres) non alcoholic apple cider or cloudy apple juice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 10 whole cloves
- 2 star annise
- ½ inch fresh ginger root
- Slice oranges into thick slices and add to a large pot.
- Slice apples. For extra prettyness you can cut star shapes out of the apple slices and add to pot.
- Gently shake apple cider/juice and add to pot
- Add spices and put lid on the pot
- Bring to boil then simmer on low for 30 mins, stirring occasionally
- To serve scoop out the spices with a slotted spoon and ladle into mugs or heat proof glasses.
Slow cooker instructions
- Add sliced oranges and apples, apple cider and spices to slow cooker.
- Put the lid on and cook on high for one hour or low for two hours.
- Scoop out the spices with a slotted spoon and switch to warm if available.
- The slow cooker method is a great option for a crowd if you have guests coming over, it can sit on warm and guests can help themselves throughout the day.
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