Autumn in Vermont may be stunning, but winter is one of the most beautiful seasons here in the Green Mountain state.
It’s the time of year when the rays of sunshine wane, illuminating the ice crystals hanging from the barn & the dusting of fresh snow on the trees. As soon as that crisp fall air transitions into a chilly, blustery snowfall, we start to crave everything warm and cozy. A fire in the wood stove. A thick Vermont flannel. And a glass of hot mulled cider.
Hot mulled cider takes the quintessential flavors of the fall apple harvest into the colder months, warming our bellies and homes with sweet fruit and spices. It’s a drink synonymous with the coming of winter and overflowing with the best flavors of Vermont.
A cup of hot mulled cider is a lovely thing to sip on a cold day! The most delicious recipe for hot mulled cider uses a blend of fresh apple cider and warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. It’s also common to add slices of lemon or orange or the zest of these citrus fruits. The ingredients are then warmed together over low heat, allowing their irresistible flavors to “mull” together into a smooth, cozy beverage.
Good quality hot mulled cider starts with the best quality apple cider, made from freshly pressed apples. Sometimes people use apple juice to make mulled cider. But mulled cider is always best when made with fresh apple cider.
High-quality apple cider is made with 100% freshly squeezed McIntosh apples -- the beauty of harvest season. Apple juice, on the other hand, is made with mostly water, corn syrup, and ultra-filtered, ultra-pasteurized fruit juice for a drink that tastes less like apples and more like sugar. Not ideal for hot mulled cider. There’s a big difference between apple juice and apple cider.
We make our own apple cider right here at our Vermont cider mill. Have you ever watched our vintage rack and cloth cider press in action? It’s a sight worth seeing.
To make fresh apple cider, we take our locally grown Champlain Valley apples, mash them into a pulp, and press the pulp until we capture all the glorious juice from the fruit. Then it’s yours to enjoy. Pure 100% juice from our beloved McIntosh apples. (Want to see how we make fresh apple cider?Visit us sometime, or learn more about ourstep-by-step process for making apple cider on a rack and cloth cider press.)
We have a serious love of apple cider here at the mill. Making apple cider is how we spend most of our time, and it’s a drink that all of us Vermonters were raised on.
Hot or cold. Fresh apple cider is the best.
But in these colder months, we’re all about the hot apple cider.
A recipe for hot mulled cider will always start with a jug offresh apple cider. Then the rest is really up to you! Pick the warm spices you love the most, whether that’s nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, or cloves. Using fresh spices will always give you more flavor. So grate your nutmeg or use whole cloves or cinnamon sticks whenever you can. Then perhaps you’ll want to add some orange slices or lemon zest. You can even add fresh cranberries if you’re feeling extra festive.
Once everything is in a pot, it’s time to turn up the heat.
The most important part of how to make mulled cider is properly heating the cider once it’s seasoned. You want to make your hot mulled cider on low heat over several hours. This is the best way to make sure you get every ounce of flavor out of your ingredients. You can use a pot on the stovetop or even a slow cooker to make your hot mulled cider.
But because of this, hot mulled cider can take a while to make. Sometimes you’ll have to wait hours before you can serve yourself a cup of hot mulled cider. And on a chilly day, the need to snuggle up with a hot beverage is pretty urgent.
So here are some tricks for an easy mulled cider.
If you’re looking for an easy recipe for hot mulled cider, there are plenty of shortcuts out there. Hot mulled cider mix and/ormulling spice bags deliver warm spices and citrusy flavor with the convenience of simply mixing a pot or steeping a tea bag. They’re good to have in a pinch!
But spice mixes only help season your hot apple cider. It doesn’t take out the hard work of actuallymullingthat cider over hours and hours – which is the key to full flavor.
We’ve taken all the work out of making mulled cider for you. The cider. The spices. The cooking. And we’ve turned it into an absolutely deliciousmulled cider concentrate. It’s the best shortcut for satisfying your hot mulled cider cravings on a winter day!
Cold Hollow hot mulled cider concentrate is a thing of magic. First, we concentrate our fresh apple cider (the deliciousVermont-made cider we mentioned earlier!) by boiling the cider and removing the excess water through evaporation, concentrating the natural sugars in the juice of the apples. Then we add our favorite glorious spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. They’re a fantastic combination that makes us feel extra toasty inside. Everything is mixed together to create our hot mulled cider concentrate.
This is a super easy, no-mess way to enjoy the real thing. Every glass still has all the classic, essential ingredients of a mulled cider made on the stovetop, but comes in a much easier form.
So when you don’t have time to make a whole pot of hot mulled cider or you simply just need a single cup, hot mulled cider concentrate gives you those same cozy seasonal flavors in a piping hot mug.
To make a cup of hot mulled cider with concentrate, simply add a tablespoon or two to a cup of hot water. The hot water will reinvigorate the cider concentrate with moisture, mixing with the burst of spices for a perfect drink.
Hot mulled cider is ideal before a hike in the woods, around a winter bonfire, or after a day of skiing. The craving for a warm, spiced cider comes on quickly, and it’s good to be prepared.
So turn on your tea kettle, boil a cup of hot water, and enjoy the ease ofmulled cider concentrate. No need to worry about how to make mulled cider or finding the time to let your cider mull. The next time you need the warmth of a hot cider, our mulled cider concentrate will wait for you in the pantry.
There is no better place to be in the snowy winter months than Vermont. This time of year is one of the reasons why we’ve made this place home. Big snowflakes, frozen ponds, & endless skiing are some of our favorite things about winter in Vermont. There is still so much beauty around us even after the autumn leaves have fallen & the pumpkin patches have emptied.
Winter is a lovely, more quiet time of year tovisit ushere in Waterbury Center -- the perfect moment to experience why we love this state so much.
Come sip on a hot mulled cider with us. We’d love to have you.