I’m sure you’ve seen them while walking through kitchen stores: tins of mulling spices. Maybe the store has some samples of mulled cider, so you can smell and taste the result. The spicy-sweet aroma is intoxicating. It smells like The Holidays.
Reach for a tin (would make an adorable stocking-stuffer, right?), check the price — $12 for 4 ounces?!?
Don’t fall for it this year! With just a few supplies, you can make your own pretty mulling spice sachets to give as gifts this holiday season, at a fraction of the cost. Buying spices from bulk bins can save additional money. Purchasing the spices this way cost me a mere $4.57.
Each sachet will mull 6 to 8 ounces of liquid. I found individual spice bags (a packet of 4) at Bed Bath and Beyond. They are also available at several sites online. You can also purchase sheets of cheesecloth (again, at Bed Bath and Beyond, or home improvement stores, or online), and cut them into 5-inch squares. You’ll want a double layer of cheesecloth for each sachet.
These sachets are also completely customizeable! Add whole peppercorns, 1-inch segments of vanilla bean, cracked whole nutmeg, star anise, cardamom pods, fresh or crystallized ginger, even cocoa nibs! One thing to keep in mind is to always use whole herbs and spices, not ground, otherwise, your liquid will become murky and sticky.
What liquids can you mull? My favorites are apple cider, and red wine (you may want to reserve 8 ounces of mulled cider for tomorrow’s recipe!). You can also use them to mull maple syrup, any flavored cider (I’ve seen pomegranate cider, cranberry cider, etc.), mead, apple cider vinegar (whisk together 1 part vinegar with 3 parts oil for a vinaigrette!), or simply simmer the sachet in plain water to fill your home with a warm aroma.
|Mulled Apple Cider|
- 1 12-inch cinnamon stick
- 2 ¼ oz dried orange zest
- 1 ½ oz whole allspice berries
- ¾ oz whole cloves
- 12 spice bags
- Kitchen twine, if using cheesecloth
- If using cheesecloth, create twelve piles of two squares each on your work surface.
- Break the cinnamon stick into 12 one-inch pieces. Place one stick in each spice bag or on top of each cheesecloth pile.
- Place 2 ¼ tsp of orange zest in each bag or on each pile of cheesecloth.
- Place 1 ½ tsp each of whole allspice berries and whole cloves in each bag or on each pile of cheesecloth.
- Close each bag and tie shut. If using cheesecloth, gather the corners up in the center and tie with a few inches of kitchen twine.
- Store sachets in airtight containers, or sealed plastic bags.