In the spirit of bonfire night
, I decided to make some mulled cider. This drink tends to go down well at this time of year, also, the apples are in season around now.
When you're standing about in the cold outdoors watching the bonfire and gasping at the fizzly fireworks, there's nothing better than a nice hot mug of mulled cider. It warms up your hands as well as your insides!
The recipe is pretty flexible, add as little or as much as you want of the ingredients to taste. This recipe should be enough for 4 or 5 people.
- Place your sliced apple in a large saucepan. Remove the skin from the orange and slice it across the grain, so you get orange "wheels" and add them to the pan. I retain half of the skin and using a knife, scrape off the white pith. Place the remaining piece of orange zest into the saucepan.
- Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and allspice.
- Add the dried mixed fruits. As to which fruits, I leave that up to your discretion, add whatever you like, but I would suggest adding the type of things you would see in a mince pie or Christmas pudding such as raisins, currants and candied peel.
- Add the dried apricots. Ideally, these are the soft, dark brown organic apricots, since the flavour is so much richer and they're naturally sweeter. I find that the typical bright orange type with preservatives are too acrid.
- Pour over the apple/orange juice and about half of the cider.
- Simmer for about an hour.
- At this point, you can either just go on to the next step, or, better still, turn off the heat and let your mixture steep for a few hours or overnight.
- When you're about ready to serve, heat up your pan of mulled cider so that you can see steam coming from the surface and add the rest of the cider.
- Simmer gently for a further 10 minutes or until it's all hot and steamy.
- Add honey and brown sugar.
- Taste again.
- Serve in mugs and place into cold waiting hands.
If you're serving this to children, you can do the whole thing just using apple juice.
I started this year's batch yesterday, and since we decided to do a little impromtu fireworks lighting session, I brought out some of the mulled cider. It went down reasonably well and over half of the cider had gone! So today, I've just added another apple, another stick of cinnamon and topped up with a carton of apple juice and another 500ml of cider and it seems to be ok.