September 30th is National Mulled Cider Day, a day to brew and enjoy a hot batch of the popular autumn beverage. Apple cider has been consumed heavily since colonial times when water was often unsafe to drink. Today the term cider often refers to fresh-pressed apple juice, while the fermented version with alcohol is called “hard cider”. “Mulled cider,” similar to Wassail, is created by adding orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, spices, and enough heat to raise the liquid’s temperature to just below boiling.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my digestive track doesn’t always agree with certain fruits, like apples, grapes, and pears. Unfortunately, due to this affliction, there are a lot of delicious juice and fruit-based meals and drinks that I avoid. I particularly feel shafted when Autumn rolls around — a time that instinctively makes so many of us envision and crave lazy walks in the brisk air with a cup of cider in hand. I have vague memories of enjoying fresh cider as a child, and even stopping with my family at a little road-side stand somewhere in the Shenandoah Valley to buy a quart of delicious fresh-made cider.
I discovered mulled wine just a few years ago, sometime during the winter holidays. I’d read that heating it on the stovetop would fill your home with a wonderful aroma, and I decided to make a batch before I had all of my family over for Christmas Eve (I really enjoy little details that can enrich a good gathering!). Another winter I made mulled wine as a beverage and we enjoyed it in the evening with some sweet desserts. Yum.
To celebrate National Mulled Cider Day Chris and I decided to make a pot of the warm, comforting beverage. We turned to the internet to find a simple recipe and were shocked by the variety available — many recipes have a long list of ingredients, but some are much simpler; others call for alcohol, while a few are more child-friendly. Eventually we settled on an easy Mulled Cider recipe from Wegman’s and headed to the grocery store to collect an orange, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and apple cider. When we got home we mixed the ingredients up and heated them on our gas stove top. The smell was lovely and autumnal, and the resulting beverage was not only tasty, but also the perfect way to find a little relaxation before bedtime.
Tomorrow’s “unofficial” is coming just in time: we’ve been trying to save a little extra spending money for our vacation in two weeks, so Chris and I are both looking forward to celebrating International Frugal Fun Day!