An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and when fall comes, you can get that in a freshly mulled cider. When you make your own, mulled cider is naturally low in sugar. The warm spices provide an aromatherapeutic perk as well as numerous health benefits. You can master mulled cider with this easy recipe.
Mulled Cider Ingredients
A basic mulled cider contains cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Cinnamon has a mildly spicy, warm flavor that is a classic pairing with apple. Nutmeg is a zesty, bitter spice that when used sparingly, adds warmth and depth to any recipe. Cloves have a bittersweet taste similar to that of black licorice; in small amounts, they highlight the sweetness of cinnamon and apple. Allspice is a dried berry has a flavor similar to that of cloves and the same warm notes as cinnamon or nutmeg.
How to Make Mulled Cider
You can make mulled cider on the stove using a pot or simmer it in a slow cooker. The latter approach will leave your home smelling like cinnamon and apples. What’s more, the longer steep time gives you a more potent end product.
For one gallon of cider, use:
• 3 to 4 cinnamon sticks
• 1/4 tsp. whole cloves
• 1 allspice berry or 1/4 tsp. dried allspice
• 1 orange, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds (optional)
• 1-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (optional)
Place all ingredients in a lidded pot or slow cooker and gently warm over medium-low heat. While you can enjoy the soothing fall beverage as soon as the cider warms, the flavors will infuse the longer you heat the drink.
Health Benefits of Mulled Cider
Unpasteurized apple cider contains both apple juice and sediment, which means there’s more fiber, vitamins, and minerals in every jug. Apples are naturally high in potassium, vitamin C, iron, and flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. By drinking apple cider, you will up your daily fiber intake (which can improve regularity) and fight free radicals.
Adding orange slices to your mulled cider further raises its vitamin C and flavonoid levels for an overall immune system boost.
While you may think of the mulling spices as flavorings, the herbs used in mulled cider have medicinal properties too.
Cloves, for instance, naturally fight respiratory infections, reduce inflammation, and relax the lining of the digestive tract (reducing gas and stomachache). Cloves contribute omega-3 oils, manganese, and antioxidants to your cider.
Like cloves, cinnamon sticks are anti-inflammatory. The super spice can also reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and increasing HDL (“good” cholesterol). Cinnamon naturally increases insulin sensitivity, which makes it anti-diabetic.
Ginger root adds a spicy zing to your cider, but its real efficacy is in health benefits. Ginger settles an upset stomach, soothes the digestive system, and eases PMS discomfort as well as osteoarthritis and muscle pain. Because its active component is gingerol, which fights infections, you may be able to avoid that nasty cold going around. Studies suggest ginger may decrease your risk of cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Allspice may smell like a spice blend, but it’s the fruit of a Caribbean evergreen. It’s rich in potassium, copper, and iron, and studies have indicated one active component in allspice, ericifolin, fights prostate cancer. Like ginger, allspice soothes the digestive system. The tiny berry improves circulation, aids heart health, and fights stomach bacteria E. coli and listeria.
With health benefits like these–not to mention a delicious taste–there are many reasons to keep a pot of mulled cider on the stove.