Mulled cider

There are strict rules about booze at Gin and Crumpets Towers:

1) Booze may only be mulled between 1st November and 31st December.
2) It is forbidden to mull wine before the 1st December.
3) Following the flaming pot incident, a damp tea towel must always be kept close at hand.

The first two rules are there to protect my enthusiasm for mulls (the third is to protect me; mulls burn with such pretty blue flames). I already have four invitations to mulled wine parties in December and if I was allowed to indulge my natural appetite for mulls, this seasonal glut would be a trial for my constitution rather than a period of happy gorging.

Because of these rules, Bonfire Night is now firmly associated with mulled cider. It keeps you warm and gives you the confidence to go back to the firework you lit but which doesn’t seem to have gone off and light it again (disclaimer: fireworks are dangerous and if you lose your eyes doing this, you only have yourself to blame). It’s better if you mull the cider a few hours ahead and give it time to develop, but as long as it’s steaming and contains rum, then it counts as a good mull.

Mulled cider
Makes 6 generous mugs or 8 sensible cups

1 litre dry cider
1 litre apple juice
200ml dark rum (I used
Lamb’s Navy Rum)
100g soft light brown sugar
1 eating apple
15 cloves

1 Pour the cider, apple juice and rum into a medium-sized pan. Stir in the sugar. Core and slice the apple and stick a few slices with the cloves. Add them to the pot.

2 Bring the cider to a very gentle simmer, then reduce the heat, cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool for 5–10 minutes and then serve in heatproof mugs/cups.

You can leave it for a few hours to develop. If you do this, scoop out the now flabby slices of apple and replace them with fresh slices stuck with cloves before reheating. If you’re topping up the Mull over the course of the evening, core and quarter an apple, stick that with cloves and keep it in the pan. Resist the urge to throw in handfuls of loose cloves; someone always ends up coughing on a mouthful of them.

Tagged with: Bonfire NightCiderEnglishMulling

12 Responses to Mulled cider

  1. Lizzie says:

    Simmer? SIMMER?! I was told never to let a bubble break, otherwise bye bye booze.

    I’m trialling the spice tea option this year for my bonfire party on saturday – this doesn’t require any heatage of the booze (though I still like it warm).

    I think I might be having a mulled white wine season… mulled red is too risky with my carpets!

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      Simmer very, very gently (and with a lid on). You have to understand, we use about 20 litres of cider over the course of a Bonfire NIght, with additional beer and wine when people get bored of hot cider. If all the booze was left in, there would be terrible consequences.

  2. Sue says:

    Any mock-mulls for the non-alcohol drinkers?

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      To mull apple juice, I’d go for the following to make 6–8 servings:

      2 litres apple juice, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 3 slices fresh ginger, 1 apple, cored and sliced and stuck with cloves (as for the mulled cider) and 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar.

      Put them all in the pan and bring to a gently simmer, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, then leave to cool slightly. Taste and see if it needs more sugar – it depends on the apple juice. Remove the spices (or leave in if you’re going to keep topping it up). Serve warm in heatproof mugs.

      You can make this a few hours ahead, like the mulled cider, to let the spicy flavours develop.

      • Sue says:

        Thanks girl hope holiday was amazing from the updates I take it was! I am doing xmas dinner this year for in-laws first time myself and the other half having xmas dinner together ever and no-one drinks!

  3. Helen says:

    How the hell did you manage to set fire to it?! A flaming pot incident does not sound good. I’m glad to see rum in there as I’ve found that the path to success with a mull is always paved with hard liquor.

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      The flaming pot incident actually happened at my kitchen-partner-in-crime Sara’s Christmas party a few years ago. Sara uses brandy as her mixer for mulled wine and she likes to use it at a ratio of almost 1:1. This leads to a pretty flammable pot.

      On top of this, I think we may have engaged in a secret three-way Mull War between Sara, her occasional lodger Mr B and me. Sara made her mull, then Mr B tasted it and thought to himself: ‘That needs Port’ and secretly added lots of Port. I tried it and thought: ‘Christ, that is strong enough to melt faces’ and I secretly added more wine. We carried on like this for about an hour until we had a Mull Bomb.

      The Mull Bomb sat steaming happily on the hob. Guests drank from it and were refreshed. They even helped top it up, unaware of the dangerous, unstable quantity of booze bubbling in the pot. And then it was time to fry the blinis. Which meant lighting the gas. Which meant striking a match. Which led to a Mull Explosion.

      The match lit the VAPOUR, which set fire to the pot. We watched it burn with pretty blue flames in mute awe for about a minute, and then I deployed my Girl Guide Firefighter Badge expertise and threw a damp tea towel over it.

      Fortunately, there was so much booze in it, it wasn’t affected by being set on fire and we continued to enjoy it all night. We still talk fondly of that mull. It was legendary.

  4. ginandcrumpets says:

    @Sue Wow, good luck with the Xmas dinner. A dry Christmas isn’t too bad an idea – the only Xmas I hosted, I had a glass or 2 of sparkly while we opened the presents and then went to cook dinner. I was all over the place!

  5. […] you have read the comments on the Mulled cider post, then you’ll have read the story of the flaming pot incident. That incident taught me […]

  6. […] from the oven, but they’re also good cold (especially if you’ve had a few glasses of mulled cider) or you can make them ahead and then reheat at gas mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C for 15ish minutes […]

  7. Mantitlement says:

    I love cider and this cocktail looks fantastic. I will definitely add this to my make list. Thanks Dan

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