Tis the season to be mulling! Wine, wine, wine, wine, wine, ci-der and wiiiiiine. Mulled apple cider, mulled wine, mulled cranberry juice, mulled cocktails, mulled sangria. There is something about infusing fresh fruit and spices into a beverage that just sings the holidays! Mulled things are AWESOME.
Today on “Heidi’s Homemade for the Holidays” (What do you think? Future Food Network show material? 😉 ) we are going to make our own mulling spices! That’s right folks!
My favorite thing about making my own mulling spices is that I can choose the combination of spices that I want in my pot. Oh, and the fact that it makes the house smell oh so incredibly AH-MAZING.
I like to mix things up depending on what I can find at the local market, but the following recipe is my go-to base. You can generally find everything you will need in the bulk section of your local grocery store or natural food market. When I make mulled wine I like to throw in a little star anise. I think the anise has too strong a licorice flavor for the cider so I left it out of my base recipe. But I don’t mind it in my wine and it’s sooooo pretty!
I also will swap the dried fruit for fresh orange slices if I am making it at home. Same with the crystallized ginger, which can sometimes be hard to find. If you are making it at home for immediate use then fresh ginger or candied ginger work just fine!
If you are making this for a gift and it won’t be used right away, dried oranges and crystallized ginger are best. You can even make your own dried oranges at home.
This recipe makes about 1/2 cup of mulling spice which is a good amount for mulling a big pot of cider or two bottles of wine. Alternately you can split the recipe into two bags and gift each with a bottle of wine.
Great for Holiday Gifting
These mulling spices make great gifts especially for the holidays! I always love getting homemade gifts and goodies. Sometimes it’s hard (and expensive!) to shop for gifts, so I always find that something homemade and consumable is a great way to go! You get to enjoy eating or drinking your treats and there is no clutter left behind. You don’t have to worry about storing yet another holiday mug or getting a 17th pair of fuzzy slipper socks (just kidding! I love those things, let’s make it 18!).
Mix up a batch and put in a mason jar or wrap up in cheesecloth or little muslin tea bags for single serving sizes. When making the little bags, I found it was easier if I cut the cinnamon sticks in half or broke them up so they would fit in the bags. You could also tie a cinnamon stick to the outside of the bag as a cute (and useful) decoration. Gift with a bottle of cider or wine and your friends, hostess, or coworkers are sure to thank you!
Spent spices – Don’t toss them, make a simmer pot!
When you are done mulling your cider or wine, save those used mulling spices for use in a simmer pot. They might not have the strong flavor that they did at first, but there is still plenty of goodness left. Toss them into a pot of water with fresh orange slices and a few sprigs of evergreen or rosemary simmer on low heat. It will fill your home with an amazing aroma! Perfect for the holiday season!