Mulled Cabernet Cider

photo by LeNell Camacho Santa Ana
photo by LeNell Camacho Santa Ana

Our historic neighborhood, Norwood in Birmingham, celebrates the holidays by gathering a group of folks for an old fashioned Christmas caroling session that always warms my heart. This year, a neighbor invited us all over afterwards for a simmering pot of cider mixed up with red wine that warmed up our hearts even more. Inspired by his mulling, I decided to do my own take on it, so we can whip one up to serve to whoever might drop by throughout the winter.

Mulling generally involves heating anything up—wine, juice, ale--with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and clove. Always best to use whole spices instead of powdered so as to keep your liquid nice and clear.

  • Half gallon of Apple Cider
  • 2 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 4 Whole Cloves
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 3 slices of Orange
  • 4 whole Allspice
  • 5 Black Peppercorns
  • Brown Sugar, for glass rim
  • Garnish: extra Cinnamon sticks and whole nutmeg, grated

For easier removal of spices, you can place all in a tied up cheesecloth. Bring wine, cider, spices, and citrus all to simmer on low heat. Be careful not to boil as this will bring out bitterness in spices and citrus peels. Allow to simmer for 10-30 minutes, depending on how strong you like your spice. Remove spices and peels. Fun to serve in sugar rimmed punch cups with a cinnamon stick garnish and a grating of fresh nutmeg.