Mulling spices are used to make hot mulled drinks. The tradition of making these is popular in the winter, especially during Halloween and Christmas, when these warm beverages can be enjoyed on a cold, winter's night. The process of mulling has been practiced for centuries, where different types of spices and fruit essences were infused together and heated with wines, fruit juices, and ciders, to give them a distinct flavor.
Different countries follow different methods for mulling spices. But the most common method is to infuse them all together in a cheesecloth, which is then dropped into a pan containing a simmering liquid like cider, fruit juice, or wine. One of the major benefits of using mulling spice in fruit juices is that a complex tinge of citrus and spicy flavors are created, that complement and enhance the essence of the basic fruit element of the drink. Another method for preparing infused spices is to ground them into a coarse powder, before mixing them directly with the simmering beverage. Some fine ingredients may easily dissolve in the drink, while others may have to be removed before serving it.
Orange Mulling Spice Mix
- 6 whole cardamom
- 12 whole cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon, whole allspice
- 1 teaspoon, orange peel (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon, whole cloves
Separate the seeds from the cardamom pod and crush them lightly in a heavy freezer bag, with the help of a rolling pin. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the whole allspice, cloves, and orange peel. Now, add the crusted cardamom seeds to the bowl and combine them properly. Scoop 2 teaspoons of this spice mixture and place it in the center of a 4-inch square cheesecloth. Keep a cinnamon stick on each square and tie the ends securely with a string. You can make four bags out of these which can be used for making mulled cranberry juice or apple juice.
Apple Mulling Spice Mix
- 6 whole nutmegs
- 3 ounces, whole cinnamon sticks
- ¼ cup, whole cloves
- ¼ cup, dried orange peel (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger (finely chopped)
- ¼ cup allspice berries
- ¼ cup, dried lemon peel (chopped)
Take a heavy freezer bag and place the nutmeg and cinnamon sticks in it; crush the spices with a rolling pin till they crumble into small pieces. Transfer the contents to a small bowl and mix the allspice, ginger, orange peel, cloves, and lemon peel, with it, properly. Take a large double-layered cheesecloth and cut it into fourteen 5-inch squares with the help of a pair of scissors. Place 2 heaped tablespoons of mulling spice on it and tie it securely with a 10-inch white string, so that the spices don't fall out. Similar spices are used in the process of making mulled wine.