Ask Holly: Mulled Cider and Broken Legs


If you don’t like things that are “DEE-LISH-US” (to quote a Barista Kids reader) and make your home smell like heaven, then stop right now. Read no further. Ok, so for those of you who are still with me in this edition of Ask Holly, I’m making mulled cider and other mulled beverages.  For adults that enjoy a nice alcoholic bevy now and again here is my version of a Broken Leg. Be careful, this one will sneak up on you!

These are some of the things you can use:

  • Cider (1 gallon)
  • Cinnamon sticks broken into small pieces
  • Whole cloves
  • Whole nutmeg broken into pieces ( I put it in a paper towel and give it a whack with a hammer)
  • Whole allspice
  • Candied or fresh ginger in  one inch slices (candied ginger is usually in the seasonal baking section next to those freakishly green, candied cherries — tell me where in nature are those grown!?)
  • Cardamon pods (optional)
  • Oranges (optional)
  • A coffee filter or a tea ball
  • Twist ties or string
  • And last but certainly not least, Ginger brandy (both Hiram Walker and Leroux are currently making versions)

Spices are sold in the baking aisle of most grocery stores and all available at Whole Foods. I have also bought spices at the Paterson Farmers Market for a third of the price that grocery stores charge.

Put  one stick of cinnamon,  cloves , allspice, and nutmeg pieces (a few of each listed)  in a coffee filter and tie with string or with a twist tie.

Heat cider  on a low simmer in a crock pot or in a large pot on the stove  and add packet of spices for at least 30 minutes to and hour and serve warm.

For  the Broken Leg add about a shot of ginger brandy available at Magnolia’s Wines & Spirits in Montclair into a mug and fill with warm cider. You can also use peach brandy, pear brandy or unflavored brandy. I (as well as half of my block) have tried all of these versions and they are all wonderful.  Here is what I have learned: a good wine/liquor store will order just about anything for you that they don’t carry.  So call around and ask! The lovely people at Magnolia got this for me in one day and… they have free parking!

There are several variations of mulled cider. Try making it by adding some cranberry juice, apple or orange slices.  If you have, and like the flavor of cardamon, add some of that as well, but I think ginger fresh or a piece or two of candied ginger is a must! You could  use red wine instead of cider–just add a bit of sugar to the wine and perhaps a few orange slices or apple. I made a pot of black tea today and added a packet to the teapot for my own version of Chai tea.

I also like to mix up a whole bunch of the mulling spices in a bowl and pour into a jar (photo above) to have it ready to hand, as I make this often.  This can be stored at room temperature. Add two parts cinnamon stick to one part of the other spices.

This is a fantastic project to do with the kids.  They can fill clean empty jars and paint the tops, make labels and give them as gifts.

If you are  making this for a crowd of more than five, get a few gallons of cider. This stuff disappears quickly!

Questions? Just Ask Holly in the comment section.

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  1. Your great ideas never cease to amaze me! I like that the alcohol is not added until you put the cider in a mug — that way the kids can partake as well! I remember when my mom used to put this in the crock pot and get it going while my friends and I played outside in the cold weather…the smell filled the house!

  2. i love this. this morning, i made the doughnuts from earlier in the week. this evening….broken legs. apparantly, i’d be lost with out you. what do you think about rum in the cider?

  3. This was great! I didn’t have any of those spices…or fruit…or cider…or coffee filters, mugs nor crockpot. But after I knocked off around half of that ginger brandy I was all…”Where have YOU been?”.

    Thanks again!

  4. Well… finally a drink receipe that can be used and amended to please the little kiddies and the big kiddies!!! So glad to have stumbled onto your hints and tips!!!

  5. Krissy- I’m not a huge fan of rum but I have been told that Captain Mogan’s rum goes nicely with cider.

    One of the reason I have to admit why I really like the ginger brandy is most flavored liquors are about 30 proof and loaded with sugar. The ginger brandy is 70 proof.

    As for drinking it straight Snowy…well what can I say? You don’t have any mugs, you live on the edge and broke the box years ago!!!! Well done you.

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