Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

This past week has been marked by cloudy, rainy days and crisp, fall weather. All I’ve wanted to do is curl up on the couch with a hot drink and a good book. And to be honest, that's exactly what I've done. I've unabashedly taken advantage of the days when my kids took a good, long nap (which definitely didn't happen ever day, but I'll take what I can get). 

Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

I know chores and to-do lists can't be put on the back-burner forever, but sometimes you just have a to let good things go in order to fill up with the best things. My kitchen may still be a mess, but my soul is refreshed - and for that, I'm grateful. 

Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles
Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

Of course, during this season, if you've got a good book in one hand, you need a mug of hot cider in the other. I changed things up from my normal orange-clove-cinnamon combo and threw an ancho chile into the mix. I absolutely loved it. I know the added heat may not be for everyone, but for me, there's something calming, comforting and pleasantly surprising about the slight kick after every sip. Rest assured, this is a drink that'll keep you warm during those cool fall days!

Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

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Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

Mulled Cider with Cinnamon + Ancho Chiles

2 quarts apple cider (make sure it doesn't have any added sweeteners or spices)
8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
1 lemon, sliced
1 ancho chile

Add the cider, cloves, cinnamon sticks, lemon juice and lemon slices to a large saucepan. Cut the ancho chile in half and add it to the cider (seeds and all).

Bring the cider to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cover. Let the cider simmer for at least 30 minutes. Pour into mugs and garnish with a slice of lemon or a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!

Quick Tip: You can also make this recipe in a slow-cooker. Just let it mull for at least a couple hours before serving. 

Glogg [Scandinavian Mulled Wine]

Glogg (kinda pronounced glooog) is a Scandinavian mulled wine. If there ever was a quintessential winter drink, this is it. It's the ultimate “cold weather, cozy up to the fire, pour a glass (or two), stay up late and enjoy good company” beverage. It's sweet with a bit of spice and warms you from the inside out. I'm convinced that Scandinavians are able to survive the long, cold, dark winters because of glogg. I've personally found Chicago weather more bearable when I have a mugful in hand. 

There are a myriad of recipes out there for glogg, but the typical ingredients are red wine, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, orange, raisins, almonds and sugar. There's some variation on the alcohols used, but my personal preference is to use a combination of red wine, port and brandy. I also prefer to make glogg a little less sweet, so the recipe below calls for about half the sugar of other versions I've seen. If you've got a sweet tooth, feel free to increase the amount of sugar in the recipe. 

(And as an added glogg bonus, you can make muffins, scones or baked goods with the wine and brandy soaked raisins and almonds! More on that coming to the blog soon!)

Makes about 2 quarts
Adapted from Craig Goldwyn

1 bottle (750 mL) red wine
1 bottle (750 mL) port
2 cups brandy
2 cinnamon sticks
6-8 cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
1 orange, peels of zest and juice
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, quartered
1/2 cup light brown sugar (add more if you prefer a sweeter drink)
Orange slices for garnish

Pour wine and port in a large pot. Add cinnamon, the seeds from the cardamom pods, cloves, orange peel and juice, raisins, almonds and ginger. Warm gently over low heat, being sure not to boil.

Mix the sugar and the brandy in a separate pot. Warm over low heat, melting the sugar and allowing it to caramelize and become slightly syrupy.

Once the sugar has melted and caramelized, add the sugar/brandy mixture to pot with the wine and spices. Cover the pot and let the mixture mull over very low heat for 1 to 2 hours. Once the glogg has mulled, strain out the spice and fruit ingredients.*

Pour the glogg into mugs and garnish with a slice of orange. Glogg can also be stored in tightly sealed bottles for a couple months. I pour the glogg back into the wine bottles I used in the recipe, and then seal with a vacuum cork. Simply rewarm before serving. 

*Don't throw out the fruit and almonds! You can use them in muffins, scones or other quick breads.