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. 

Summer Long Sangria

Sangria

There are certain recipes that have become signs of the season in my house – Autumn Chowder in fall, beef stew in winter, my favorite bacon, lettuce and peach sandwich in spring and sangria in the summer. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as sipping a cold glass of sangria on the back deck, around the fire-pit with friends or after a long day in the sun. 

Sangria

My brother shared this recipe with me a couple years ago, and I haven’t made another version since. The idea is simply that you make a base mix with ingredients like fresh fruit, brandy and various liqueurs, and then you add that mix to a bottle of wine when you're ready to serve. It’s become a family staple during the warm weather months. The best part? The recipe below makes enough of the base mix to last you all. summer. long.

Summer Long Sangria-2.jpg
Sangria
Sangria

If you scroll down and look at the ingredient list, you’ll notice it requires a lot of alcohol. Don’t let that deter you. This recipe should literally last you all season (or make enough for a huge crowd), and you don't have to buy top-tier liqueurs (use a decent wine when serving, though).

Sangria

If you make the full batch as written, you’ll have enough sangria base mix for about 18-24 bottles of wine, depending on how many ounces of mix you use per bottle of wine. Keep that in mind, and adjust accordingly. This summer, we split a batch with my brother and sister-in-law, which gave us each enough base mix for about 10 bottles of wine per couple. 

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Sangria

You can pare down the recipe to make enough sangria for just one evening or one party. Personally, though, I rarely use ingredients like peach schnapps or amaretto for anything else, so I’d rather use up those entire bottles. 

If you're willing to share the fruits of your labor, a jar of the base mix wrapped up with your favorite wine makes a great housewarming or hostess gift. It’s also the perfect addition to any cookout or picnic, and the base mix works well with reds, whites or roses to please nearly any palate. 

Sangria

Are you a fan of sangria? What’s your favorite beverage to enjoy during the summer months?


Summer Long Sangria

1 (8-12 ounce) jar of sangria base mix (recipe below)
1 bottle wine of choice*
Sparkling water (optional)
Ice
Fresh lemon or orange wedges

In a large pitcher, mix together 8-12 ounces of sangria base mix with 1 bottle of wine, adjusting the amount of base mix to your taste. I prefer about 12 ounces of mix (including the fruit) per 750mL bottle of wine. 

You can also top the sangria off with sparkling water if you want to tone down the intensity. Serve with ice and a few fresh orange or lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Note: *The base mix adds quite a bit of sweetness, so I'd stay away from using very sweet wines. 


Sangria Base Mix
Yields enough for 18-24 bottles of wine

6 oranges
6 apples
6 lemons
2 bottles* triple sec
1 bottle brandy
1 bottle apricot brandy
1 bottle peach schnapps
1 bottle amaretto
½ bottle raspberry liqueur

Chop the oranges, apples and lemons into small wedges. In a very large bowl or pot (I use my big soup pot), mix together the fruit with all of the other ingredients. 

Ladle the sangria base mix into smaller containers (I use 8-12 ounce freezer-safe jars), making sure the fruit pieces are evenly distributed between the jars. Seal tightly and store the jars of sangria base mix in the freezer until ready to use.

You can also store the jars in the fridge or even at room temperature. The alcohol in the mix helps preserve the fruit. However, if you want to be extra cautious about food safety, the freezer is a better option. I also prefer to keep the jars in the freezer so that when I add the mix to the wine, it helps cool the wine without needing to dilute it with too much ice. 

Note: *A “bottle” in this recipe is a 750mL-sized bottle.