This easy and alcohol-free* mulled apple cider is the ultimate cosy recipe to keep you warm this winter. It's a wonderful brew to make and share if you have friends or family over, and also makes a great tipple for solo adventures in the woods or escapisms by the fire with a good book.
My personal favourite time I've imbibed this cider yet has been dancing around the bonfire, letting go of what no longer serves me with a mug of cider warming my hands. Perfect.
As the nights draw in and the temperatures begin to drop, it’s a real treat to spend some time by the stove, filling your kitchen with the inviting aroma of mulled drinks. It’s an autumnal tradition of mine to make mulled cider every year, and this autumn I decided to add some Firefolk Tea to the mix. It was so delicious I knew I had to share the recipe with you!
*Comforting Firefolk Tea meets fresh apples and other warming spices for this alcohol-free winter warmer. What we are essentially making is a fresh apple juice, gently heated with spices to make a delicious brew that's not technically a cider because we aren't fermenting any apples into alcohol!
You could jazz up your cider with some spirits though if you like, and this recipe tastes exceptionally delicious with a generous (or modest) pour of whiskey.
I love using my tea blends in recipes, they add such a lovely depth of flavour to whatever I’m making, whether that be baking cookies or mixing cocktails. Firefolk Tea adds a beautiful colour and tangy, sweet spiciness to this cider. And if you don’t have any Firefolk to hand, don’t worry, it will still be delicious.
My partner’s mum has had an apple tree for years, which produced these absolutely huge apples this year! I don’t know the variety, but they are sweet and full of flavour, probably one of the best apples I’ve tasted actually.
If you’d like to pick your own, there are often apple trees growing around cities and towns, with so much fruit going to waste every year. There’s even a couple of apple trees growing in the woods behind my home, and of course there’s trusty supermarket apples too.
- 3 huge sweet apples (amounts to around 4-6 medium sized apples)
- 6 granny smith apples
- juice and peel of one orange
- 1/2 cup Firefolk Tea
- 4 cloves
Optional extras: hogweed seeds, nutmeg, star anise etc. I used what I had to hand. If you don’t have Firefolk, add 3 cinnamon sticks and an inch-sized piece of fresh ginger instead.
In hindsight, I might have bundled all the spices into a cheesecloth bag to infuse into the cider that way, because when you strain your cider you are left with a gorgeous pink apple purée, delicious eaten with a spoon or used as a substitute for eggs in vegan baking. If you don’t want to bag up your spices you can just compost everything later.
- Chop the apples into quarters, peel the orange (taking care not to include any of the spongy white pith underneath), and add everything into a large pan, cover with about 2 inches of water then bring to a boil.
- Once boiling immediately reduce to a simmer and cook on very low for 2 hours.
- Strain your cider, add sweetener if desired, serve warm and enjoy! Since half my apples were quite sweet, I found no need to add any additional sugar. You can taste your cider to see what you think, and if you’d like it to be sweeter, add up to 1/2 cup brown sugar, stirring to dissolve while the cider’s still hot.
This will keep in the fridge for a few days, you could also freeze it in ice cube trays to have more fresh apple cider later in the year!
I like to add whiskey each time I reheat some, taking care to simmer gently so the alcohol doesn't evaporate too much. Serve with a dried apple slice, slice of orange and star anise on the rim of the glass if you’re feeling extra fancy.
Cosy and comforting Firefolk Tea is available here until it gets sold out. Please do join our Plant Circle newsletter for restock updates!
I hope you liked this recipe! Please do tag me if you make this mulled cider, I love seeing your creations.