Mulled Cider With Cardamom, Black Pepper, and Ginger
While traditional mulled cider is undeniably cozy and fragrant, it can sometimes lean too heavily into potpourri territory. This revamped version introduces toasted cardamom, allspice berries, and black peppercorns, offering a more sophisticated spiciness. Fresh ginger and citrus zest bring a refreshing twist to the mix.The result is tangy and aromatic cider with a subtle savoury edge. If you're thinking of adding some whiskey to the mix, remember not to pour it directly into the pot with the cider, as the alcohol will evaporate over time. Instead, allow your guests to spike their mugs. If you own a slow cooker, you're lucky because this recipe is perfect.
- Begin by placing the cardamom pods on a cutting board. Use the flat side of a chef's knife to crush and crack the pods gently. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, toast the cardamom pods, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, and allspice berries until they become highly fragrant, which should take about 3 minutes. Be sure to shake the pan occasionally.
- Transfer the cinnamon sticks to a large Dutch oven or pot. Bundle the remaining toasted spices in a piece of cheesecloth and add it to the slow cooker. (If you don't have cheesecloth, tea infusers or loose tea bags can be used as alternatives. Alternatively, add the spices directly to the slow cooker and strain the mixture as you serve.)
- Halve the peeled ginger lengthwise and gently crush each piece by placing the flat side of a knife over them and smacking with the heel of your hand.
- Combine the smashed ginger, lemon, orange, a pinch of salt, and apple cider in the Dutch oven. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and let it simmer for 30 minutes. (If you're using unfiltered cider, you may notice some solids rising to the top as it simmers; while it's unnecessary to skim them, you can do so if you prefer.)
- Reduce the heat to its lowest setting, and if you have a heat diffuser, use it. Stir in the vanilla extract. You can leave the cider on the stove for several hours. Keep the rye whiskey nearby so guests can add it to their mugs if desired. Additionally, provide cinnamon sticks and sliced citrus for guests to garnish their mugs as they like.
This recipe is for holiday gatherings, but you can easily cut the quantities in half to make a smaller quantity.