The Perfect Pairing: Mulled Spices & a Warm Drink
Seasonal spices blended into your favorite holiday beverages.
Growing up, my parents always went out of their way to make the holidays special for me and my siblings. Traditions like finding the hidden pickle ornament in the Christmas tree, receiving clementines and lottery tickets in my stocking, and eating breakfast quiche on Christmas morning have always been fond memories of spending the holidays with my family.
If I close my eyes tight enough, I can feel the warmth of hot cocoa, steaming through marshmallows while wrapping my palms around a festive mug. I can hear a soothing narrator’s voice who is reciting the script of Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch on television. The smell of freshly-baked, sugar Christmas cookies seeps through the house. A step outside and my eyes are struck by colorful lights throughout my old neighborhood.
Although I may be unable to enjoy the same traditions with my family this year, I still can recreate the same traditions in my current home. One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the variety of warm drinks. There’s nothing like a hot beverage on a cold night whether it is to warm you up from a chilly trek home or to get the party started at a holiday gathering. A highly anticipated beverage I seek during the holiday seasons is hot, mulled apple cider and hot, mulled wine.
Mulling spices are a very fragrant addition to seasonal drinks. Cinnamon, cloves, and allspice are common ingredients that create this seasonal scent. In addition to those three spices, nutmeg, star anise, and ginger are other common mulling spices. Mulling spices pair great with warm, seasonal drinks such as apple cider. You can purchase a kit of mulled spices at your local grocery store, or you can DIY your own spices for a customized taste.
Today, I am going to teach you how to make my favorite mulled, warm beverages that keep me warm on cold, winter nights.
Where to Buy Mulled Spices
Aspen Mulling Cider Spices pairs well with red wine. It includes cinnamon, lemon, orange, nutmeg, clove, annatto, and caramel. It also comes with four traditional recipes on the packaging: tea, brandy, cider, and wine.
Another place to purchase already chopped and packaged mulling spices is Williams Sonoma. They are known for having amazing recipes that have been used for cooking for decades.
If you are looking to support small businesses this year, check out Etsy for mulling spices. You can customize spices and even gift them as a holiday gift to your loved ones. Check out ThePureMoment on Etsy.
DIY Mulled Spices
If you are more of a crafty person and enjoy making things from scratch, I suggest making your own pouches of mulling spices. Let’s say you’re not a fan of allspice. The benefit of DIYing your own mulling spices is that you can pick and choose what spices you want to taste in your desired beverage.
Here is a list of tools and ingredients you’ll need (via The Spruce Eats).
- 3 ounces of cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole nutmegs
- 1/3 cup dried orange peel (chopped)
- 1/3 cup dried lemon peel (chopped)
- 1/4 cup allspice berries
- 1/4 cup whole cloves
- 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger (finely chopped)
Tools and Materials
- 14 pieces of double-layer cheesecloth (cut into 5-inch squares) or a reusable infuser.
- 14 (10-inch) lengths of string
- A bowl
- Place the large ingredients into a bag. Smash them with a rolling pin or something heavy.
- Once the bigger pieces are turned into smaller pieces, you can add the other chopped ingredients to a bowl.
- Cut your cheesecloth into 5-inch squares.
- Place two scoops of the spices onto the cheesecloth square.
- Gather the ends of your cheesecloth together and tie with a string.
Now that we have the desired spices, here is how to incorporate them into holiday drinks.
Mulled Apple Cider Recipe
For this recipe, you will need your mulling spices, a large pot or a crockpot, and one gallon of apple cider. For a sweeter cider, try finding some made from Honeycrisp apples.
- Fill the pot or crockpot with your gallon of cider.
- Add the spices to the cider.
- Simmer on low heat for one to two hours. (You’ll know it’s ready when your house smells wonderful.)
- Drink! You can serve it hot or chilled, whichever you prefer.
Bonus ingredient: Add a shot of your favorite whiskey or brandy (if you’re 21+) for an extra oomph to your holiday drink.
Mulled Wine Recipe
When it comes to mulled wine, red wine is your best option. A dry, fruity, red wine will do great for this recipe. Make sure the is not too sweet; the spices will add enough flavor once heated. Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and zinfandel are great wine selections. You will need two of your favorite dry reds for this recipe, a large pot or crockpot, and of course your mulling spices!
- Fill the pot or crockpot with two bottles of red wine.
- Add your spices to the pot or crockpot.
- Simmer on low heat for about two hours.
- For added flavor, you can add a scoop of sugar or squeeze oranges into the pot.
- Drink! This can also be served chilled if preferred.
Bonus ingredient: Add garnish such as a lemon wedge, orange wedge, or a cinnamon stick to your holiday glass.
The seasonal aroma of the blend and warming of the mulling spices paired with a warm, fruity drink makes for the perfect pair during the holiday season. The spices emit a seasonal smell while the warm beverage warms you up on a chilly day. This perfect pair also goes great with your favorite holiday movie or as a treat while baking cookies.