Apple Cider is one of those drinks that’s only available seasonally (at least the fresh kind anyway), and when it is available it’s always so expensive. Spending five or six dollars for a litre or two, seems like a horrendous waste of money especially since you can make your own for about half that price. This homemade mulled apple cider can be made using fresh apples or sweet raw cider bought at an orchard.
Hard Cider vs. Sweet Cider
Apple cider is a traditional North American drink that originated in Europe and was popular in various cultures, including the Roman Empire. The modern variations we know really took off in Canada and the United States in the 18th Century when water always came with the possibility of bacteria and disease, and fermented drinks like beer and apple cider were deemed safer to consume. Apple Cider itself has a shorter shelf life than beer, which is perhaps why beer became more popular, but the sweet flavour of freshly brewed apple cider is like no other! Of course you can make Alcoholic cider (Hard Apple Cider) or Sweet ( Non-Alcoholic) Apple Cider. Both are delicious and have their own advantageous and disadvantages in making at home.
The Hard Cider has the added bonus of being just that…alcoholic, but this may not be everyone’s cup of tea(or cider) so to speak, which is where sweet apple cider comes into play. In Canada, simply ‘Apple Cider’ refers to the sweet variation, which is essentially apple juice pressed right at the orchard with(traditionally) the windfall or surplus apples. It is also the kind you will most likely see for sale at farmers markets and grocery stores in the mid to late fall as the apple start to ripen.
homemade Mulled Apple Cider
But why not make your own apple cider? It really can’t be that hard I thought, so I decided why not give it a try! I am fortunate enough to a have a juicer at home which I received from a friend’s a few years ago, and while it’s not the best of its kind it sure does the trick! Since sweet apple cider is essentially just raw apple juice, juicing the apples and extracting the juice that way is probably the fastest and easiest way to make cider. If you don’t have a juicer though you can simmer the apples whole with enough water to cover the apples by 2 inches for about an hour. Then pour the whole mix through a mesh strainer and then again through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Since this takes more work and I have a juicer..I’ll be using the juicer.
Begin by juicing roughly 25 lbs of your favourite apple. I am using Gravenstein apples and will make about 1 gallon of cider. As always make sure you wash the fruit first and discard any that have holes from worms or any other diseased pieces. Juice the apples whole( I do it core and all) to get all the flavour of the apples look. As you are juicing the apples strain the juice through a fine mesh strainer to remove any prices of pulp that may escape the juicer.
The juice will appear cloudy and slightly foamy. This is okay though and the foam is just air that is introduced during the juicing process. The raw apple cider will clear if you let it sit for about an hour, at which point you can syphon it into bottles and refrigerate. This raw unprocessed apple cider will last for about 2 weeks in the fridge. If you want to jazz up the flavour a little you can make mulled apple cider. Pour the raw strained apple cider into a large pot. Add 1 cup of brown sugar, a stick of cinnamon, half an orange and a few whole pods of cardamom if you like. The cardamom will add a light floral aroma and flavour to the mulled cider which goes very well with the sweet spiciness of the cinnamon.
Simmer this on the stove top for 30 to 45 minutes, making sure the cider does not come to a full rolling boil. You just want to infuse the flavours into the cider. Taste the mulled apple cider once in a while to make sure it is tasty and you like the flavour. Once the cider has simmered and the flavour is sweet and slightly spicy, the mulled cider is ready to be served. You can serve it hot which is great for dreary fall days
when it’s raining or storming out. Or you can syphon the cider into pop top bottles and refrigerate them for future enjoyment
With such a simple recipe and method I am astounded that more people don’t make this at home.! Making apple cider like this at home is a great way to make a healthy fall drink that will warm and cheer you up on any day!
For more cooking tips, tricks and recipes be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. New blog posts go up every Wednesday! In the mean time you can always check out more apple recipes like this delicious Gravenstein Apple Butter, (a delicious condiment for toast or bagels), or this delicious Old-fashioned Apple Pie!
Homemade Mulled Apple Cider
- 25 lbs Fresh Apples - Juiced or 8 liters of fresh apple cider
- 3 sticks of cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp Whole Cardamom
- 2/3 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Orange
- Juice the apples and strain them juice through a fine mesh strainer to create raw apple cider.
- Simmer the raw apple cider with the fruit, sugar, and spices until you can taste the cinnamon and cardamom. About 30-45 minutes.
- Skim off any sediment that may rise to the top during this process. Make sure the cider does not boil to ensure the sediment separates out properly.