With the cooler months well and truly making their presence felt, a hot drink with some kick can be exactly what's required to escape the winter blues. You've probably heard of mulled wine, but mulled cider? Rich Coombes from Batlow Cider tells us how.
Last December when the mercury dropped to the mid teens, we got the stovetop cranking and developed a mulled cider recipe for one of our customers (later coined Batlow's Brew). Mulled cider, like mulled wine, is a highly aromatic drink that is served warm and made with a blend of spices, a cider base and few other ingredients. Our take on it includes some brandy for extra kick, pomegranate juice and some fresh orange juice, which all marry well with the blend of spices. Making mulled cider is very simple – all you need are the ingredients, a stovetop and some mugs for serving.
The recipe below shows how to make this at home. Otherwise, drop into some Sydney venues that are serving it up this winter: The Duck Inn Pub & Kitchen (Chippendale), The Tilbury (Woolloomooloo), The Winery (Surry Hills), Gazebo Wine Garden (Elizabeth Bay), Manly Wine (Manly) and The East Village Hotel (Darlinghurst).
2L Batlow Premium Cider
3 or 4 star anise
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or 1/4 nutmeg grated 1 cinnamon stick or ground equivalent
1 vanilla pod, halved
Juice of 1 orange
6 cardamom pods
90ml pomegranate juice (any 100 per cent fruit brand goes well. Thomas Dux is a good source)
Sugar to sweeten if desired (I used 2 tablespoons of brown sugar)
Extra Brandy for extra warmth
Pour all of the cider into a large pan on a low heat and warm it through for a few minutes. Add all of the spices and fruit juices and turn the heat up. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and leave to tick away for 5 to 8 minutes. As everything infuses you'll get the most delicious layers of flavour.
Pay attention and add a few tablespoons of sugar to taste. You don't want it to be sweet; you just want the sugar to join up all the different spices so you get a harmonious taste. When you are happy with the flavours, ladle the mulled cider into the mugs and serve while warm and delicious. It's nice to leave bits of spices floating around in the cider when you serve it, but if you want yours to be clear and perfect just pour it into the glasses through a sieve.