Well it is that time of the year where the deciduous trees don the most marvelous hues and the air turns crisp. There a million reasons I love fall. I told my husband this weekend that this is the one time of the year where tourists from the city scramble to our tiny town to pick apples, go on hayrides or “leaf peep”. No wonder I moved out here; I don’t have to go anywhere to enjoy some of my favorite things about my favorite season.
Well yesterday was so brisk I made the first batch of mulled cider this year. Another one of my favorites – and my absolute favorite brand is the Williams Sonoma version. It is a fabulous blend, and they use superior exotic spices that I just don’t have the palette to discern. I gave out mulling spices last year as host/hostess gifts on Christmas when I discovered that you could make this delicious blend for about half price in bulk.
For 5.75 oz of mulling spices:
1 c (2.25 oz) dried orange peel
1/2 C (1.5 oz) cinnamon sticks (pulverized)
1/4 c (1 oz) whole allspice
1/4 c (1 oz) cloves
To mull cider, gently simmer 1 quart apple cider (if you want to know my favorite drop me a line) and 2 Tbsp mulling spices for up to 20 minutes. Excellent with a jigger of rum or brandy added per cup (or fireball whiskey if you’re up to it).
To break the cinnamon sticks into chunks I popped them into a ziplock bag then used a meat tenderizer (the flat side) to pulverize them.
And as for sourcing my spices, I got my orange peel from a store on amazon called Whole Spice. A pound-worth costs about $17.50 (or about $1 per oz). It is so delicious smelling. The cinnamon and whole cloves I purchased from Job Lot for $1 for 1.25 oz of cloves and $1 for 1.5 oz of cinnamon sticks. They have a huge inexpensive spice selection with really good turn over. I’ve never gotten something that isn’t fresh from their spice aisle. The whole allspice berries I purchased from the best spice store I’ve found in the area: Ed Hyder’s Mediterranean Market in Worcester. They have the best selection of spices around, and they have a yearly spice sale where everything is discounted 50%. Here’s the full list. I honestly can’t remember what I paid for the allspice berries but at $4 for everything else, I can’t imagine it was more than $2 for the oz (especially considering McCormick brand is $3.75 for an oz and they are usually twice what I pay.) This brings us to a grand total of $6 for 5.75 oz of mulling spices. (Half the price of W&S)
Oh and fun tip – I use these great fill-able tea bags with a bit of kitchen twine to throw into the cider to mull.