As the weather turns colder, our drinks turn warmer–whether through heating them (like hot chocolate) or adding spices to them (like mulled apple cider or mulled wine). Mulling spices are a good and simple gift for people who like the taste of the fall and winter holidays. This recipe calls for about a cup of mulling spices, 12 9-inch circles of cheesecloth, 4-ish 9-inch lengths of a natural fiber yarn (such as cotton or bamboo), and two 8-ounce mason jars. There’s no set amount of each spice to use in your mulling spices. You’ll just need to break up your cinnamon sticks and, likely, your star anise. Everything else is perfectly fine as it is.
You’re going to put about 2-3T of the spice blend in the center of your 9″ circle, then pull up the edges and tie them up to make a little pouch. Put that into your mason jar and do it again! Make sure you’re tripling up on the cheesecloth! Stuff these little bags of heaven into your mason jars and then you can cut out a piece of cardstock to write your message of cheer on and stick it over the lid, under the band (to hold it in place). You can add a ribbon with bells and mini pinecones if you want, but it isn’t necessary. Voila! The perfect, simple gift for the holidays!
But, how do you use it?!
Easy. If you want to add some spice to your apple cider, simply pour your cider (about 1 quart should be plenty) into a pot, add your bag of spices, and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Discard the bag and enjoy some mulled cider. The same can be done with wine or grape juice.
Speaking of spiced wines… Hypcoras is a medieval spiced wine that actually dates back to at least the Roman era! My friend over at Tasting History has a great video on the history and making of Hippocras (better than this one, for sure)! Romans enjoyed spiced wines, but the recipes weren’t always written down. The oldest extent recipe for a spiced wine dates to approximately 1340. It was called a piment and is what Hippocras developed from. There are many, many, many recipes about on the web for Hippocras. There are some that are very complex and some that are quite simple–like the one I made here. Hippocras/Hypocras/Ipocras/etc. is only as good as the wine you use. Mine is a very inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignon that is a bit sweeter than other Cabs I enjoy. To that end, I only used 2T of Swerve sweetener–and even then was hesitant! You should let it stand for at least two hours before straining and the preference is that it stands overnight. Despite the amount of sweetener in it, the Powder Douce is the stronger flavor and makes this drink a good mix of spicy and sweet. Hippocras can also be made with grape juice, but you will definitely want to adjust the sweetener for that (or just eliminate the extra).
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That’s all for now. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again. Blessed be.