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It has been unseasonably chilly the past few days here in Baltimore. I woke up Saturday morning and it was sleating, are you kidding me! I was hoping moving to Baltimore would mean nicer weather than Upstate New York, at lease its not accumulating. Even Noodles, my dog, doesn’t like this weather. After doing her business at the park, she ran right back to the car and wanted to go home. I couldn’t have agreed more with her.

This weather is making me long for all sorts of hot beverages. My tea pot whistles away every morning and Starbucks has perpetual access to my wallet because of my soy chai latte addition. But every fall my most favorite hot beverage of them all is mulled apple cider! Just the smell takes me back to fall weekends spent picking apples at the local orchard. We always left with too many apples, apple cider donughts and some fresh pressed apple cider. When we got home the cider was put on to boil with a healthy dose of mulling spice, and we would egerly wait for our mugs to be filled. Now as an adult, my favorite addition is a shot of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. It doesn’t get much better than that on a chilly autumn evening.

Mulling spice, however, can be very expensive to buy, so I set about making my own. There are dozens of different mulling spice recpies out there, but they all have the classic base of cinnamon and allspice. To that base you can add your own favorite spices to create amazing depth and complexity to your apple cider. The recipe below is my favorite mixture, but if you don’t like one of the ingredients, say ginger, feel free to remove it. I find the best place to buy spices are from your local health food store. They will have spices in bulk and you can buy as much as you need. Generally the spices are organic (a nice perk) but they’re also fresher, better tasting and cheaper than the spices at the grocery store. Mulling spice also makes a great gift. What hostess wouldn’t want to recieve a delicious homemade gift. It will make you look like a domestic goddess or god. Enjoy!

Mulling Spice

  • 1/4 cup whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup whole allspice
  • 1/3 cup dried orange rind or the rind of 1 fresh orange
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 tablespoons cristalized ginger, mincd
  • 2 whole nutmeg
  • 10 cinnamon sticks

Open the cardamon pods and carefully remove the seeds, and throw away the shells. Place the nutmeg and cinnamon sticks in a plastic bag and break them apart with a meat tenderizer or hammer. Place all the ingredients into a jar and shake until well mixed.

When ready to use place 2 tabespoons of mixture into a small muslin bag or a 4 x 4 inch square of cheese cloth and tie, with a string, close.

To make Mulled Apple Cider: Add 1 bag of mulling spice to 4 cups of apple cider. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. For the adult version add a shot of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum to each mug of cider.

Makes: 10 ounces of mulling spice or 8 servings of 2 tablespoons of mulling spice.