Christmas has just gone and I have been working my way through the lovely booze based gifts which have been gratefully received during the festive period. Included in this was some chilli beers, gin and a cider gift set. The cider included two bottles of Sheppy’s Cider, Bullfinch and Goldfinch. Also in the set was a ceramic cider jug and a pack of mulling spices in tea bags.

Wanting to try the ciders I decided to drink them without mulling them. I found the Goldfinch a little too dry for my tastes but the Bullfinch was just right.

Jug and cider box

I later decided I’d try mulling some cider with the spices. I thought that it would be a bit silly to use a sparkling cider, seeming as I was going to pour it into a saucepan, then let it simmer, surely all the fizz would be gone? So I bought a box of Weston’s Wyld Wood Cider (7.3%).

I have never tried muled cider, yet alone make it. Fortunately the recipe is simple. Two litres of cider, one mulling spice sachet and simmer for half an hour (do not allow to boil). Keeping an eye on the saucepan for half an hour was tedious, one bag floating in a pan, doing nothing isn’t exactly riveting entertainment. Also standing in front of it, I didn’t notice the room filling with the thick spicy smell of all the spices. People who walked into the room said it was like walking into a physical wall of smell. No one actually complained about it though. Served via the jug supplies.

Bringing a mug of hot, mulled cider to my mouth for the first time I got huge hit of vapour hit me in the face, full of flavours and probably evaporating alcohol. It took a moment to get used to, but once I did, I really enjoyed it. I just had to get through two litres of it before it got cold. I found that the cooler the cider got, the less desirable it was. In the end I chucked the last half a pint, which was just as well because there was some sort of brown slurry. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been harmful but I’m glad I didn’t drink that.

All in all I think you need to make smaller batches to drink while it’s hot, can you buy the spices which haven’t been pre packed for two litre batches? Or, make a large batch and share it.