It’s official. The holiday season has arrived and already I find myself overwhelmed. From decorating the Christmas tree to buying gifts, there is so much going on that it’s easy to spend the holidays checking off your “to-do” list instead of sitting back and enjoying the season.
The chaos brought on by the holidays makes me appreciate the simplicity of mulling spices. Taking only seconds to make, when simmered in a pot of apple cider or red wine, these fragrant sachets will fill your home with the most wonderful aromas that entreat you to both enjoy the moment and this special time of year.
So what exactly are mulling spices? Mulling spices are a blend of spices and citrus that are simmered in a beverage in order to infuse it with flavor. You may have heard of mulled wine, which is basically wine fortified with brandy and a little sugar, that is then simmered with a sachet of mulling spices. It’s served warm and makes a great adult beverage. Mulling spices can also be used to add a little something extra to hot apple cider or cranberry juice.
While different combinations of spices can be used, I chose to keep it simple and used a cinnamon stick, whole cloves, whole allspice, and a few strips of orange peel for my spice mix. While you may be tempted to use ground spices instead of their whole counterparts, beware. While ground spices will add the same flavor, they will leave you with a cloudy drink. If you are wanting to get creative with your spice mix, the peel of a lemon would be a great addition as would the spice star anise.
So what are you waiting for? Put on that favorite holiday album, get the cider simmering on the stove, and sit down by the fire to tackle those greeting cards. Happy holidays!
For one bottle of wine or 1/2 gallon of cranberry juice or apple cider
Since this is the season of giving, I would be remiss not to suggest that mulling spice sachets would make a thoughtful gift with a bottle of apple cider. Simply omit the orange peel and use a colorful ribbon to tie up the sachets.
1 cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
12 whole allspice
6 strips of orange peel
Gather all the ingredients together and place them on a small piece of cheesecloth. Gather the cheesecloth together to form a sachet and tie it up with a piece of kitchen twine. When ready to use, place the sachet in a pot of the liquid you would like to infuse and allow the spices to simmer for 30 minutes or longer to infuse the beverage with flavor.