Home cooking: Mulled apple cider

November 20, 2012

Alisha Hanlin owns and operates Pressed Flour, a food-related business based in Shepherdstown, W.Va. She produces custom cakes, cupcakes, pies and pastry platters, among other things. This recipe for mulled cider is hers.

Hanlin said cider is perfect for the holidays because of the harvesting season of the apple.

"I believe the original conception of cider as a fall and winter beverage goes all the way back to wassailing in old England," she said. "And wassail was traditionally a hard drink."

Although cider is usually treated as a drink, Hanlin said cider is versatile.

"Cider can be used in savory and in sweet cooking," she said. "It works well in a brine for meat, as a component in braising liquid or reduction, or in a chilled soup."

This recipe uses nonalcoholic apple juice, but there is an option to add rum after the cider is heated and spiced.

— Chris Copley, assistant Lifestyle editor

Mulled apple cider

1 gallon apple cider

1 scant cup raw ginger, peeled & julienned

10 cinnamon sticks

10 star anise pods

1 teaspoon whole clove

2 teaspoons juniper berries

1 vanilla bean

2 fat strips lemon zest

2 twists cracked black pepper

2 cups dark rum, optional

Bring cider to a boil. Add remaining ingredients except rum, and reduce heat to produce a low but steady simmer.

After an hour and a half, strain the cider and keep warm to serve.

If desired, add rum and allow to simmer for a minute or more, to taste, to take the edge off the alcohol, and serve.

Serves 12 to 16.

— Courtesy of Alisha Hanlin of Pressed Flour in Shepherdstown, W.Va. To contact here, call 304-224-8951 or email

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