Mulling Spices for Apple Cider and Red Wine

Glass of Apple Cider

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  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 14 spice bags (14 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
39 Calories
1g Fat
9g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 14 spice bags (14 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 39
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Protein 1g
Calcium 94mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Mulled apple cider and wine are welcome beverages at fall and winter gatherings; the warm spices offer a comforting flavor and add a special touch to any party. And mulling spices have a side benefit—your house smells wonderful when guests arrive.

This spice mix makes a nice gift for friends who enjoy mulled apple cider or red wine. If you are giving spice bags as a present, be sure to include the recipe instructions for making mulled cider or wine.


  • 3 ounces cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole nutmeg (1 ounce)
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried orange peel
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup allspice berries
  • 1/4 cup whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 14 pieces of double-layer cheesecloth cut into 5-inch squares
  • 14 (10-inch) lengths of white string

Steps to Make It

  1. Place cinnamon sticks and nutmeg in a heavy-duty freezer bag.

  2. Pound the spices with the bottom of a small heavy skillet or kitchen mallet to break them into small pieces.

  3. Place the spices in a bowl and stir in the orange peel, lemon peel, allspice, cloves, and ginger.

  4. Place about 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture in the center of each 5-inch square of double-layer cheesecloth.

  5. Tie the cloth securely with string.

Making Mulled Apple Cider or Red Wine

Each bag will spice 3 1/4 cups (a 750 ml bottle) of red wine, or 1/2 gallon (8 cups) of apple cider.

To make mulled red wine, combine the wine, 1/3 cup honey or sugar, and the spice pouch in a pot. Warm over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring once in a while to make sure the sweetener is dissolved. Ladle the liquid into mugs, discarding the spice pouch.

To make mulled apple cider, all you need is the spice pouch and cider. Just place in a pot, bring the mix to a boil, cover, and simmer for about a half an hour. Discard spice pouch and serve hot cider in mugs.

Best Wine for Mulling

Mulling covers up many of the subtleties of wine, so don't waste money on the really good stuff. Look around on the middle shelves for medium-priced bottles—not too cheap, but not much more than twenty dollars.

You want a big, bold, dry red wine to shine through the mulling so you don't get a mouthful dominated by the spices. Go with a Malbec, Zinfandel, or Syrah/Shiraz. Blends are usually cheaper; a blend of two or even three of these varieties would be a fine choice.

Serving Ideas

Serve hot mulled apple cider with a wide selection of donuts that includes traditional glazed, chocolate frosted, vanilla frosted, and chocolate with sprinkles. Serve mulled wine with more sophisticated snacks like gourmet cheeses, artisan and French bread, fancy crackers, and your favorite dolled-up hors-d'oeuvres.