What are Mulling Spices? | Warm Apple Cider with Cachaca

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Mulling spicesLots going on this week in America and we’ve had plenty to mull over. I’m not about to get into it here (because enough already) but let’s just say America needs a drink. A big one. A strong one. And since it’s chilly outside in these parts, a warm one, so we’re tossing together some mulling spices and making a batch of Warm Apple Cider with Cachaça.

What are Mulling Spices?

Mulling spices are a mix of dried herbs and spices used to seep flavor into warm drinks, like Mulled Red Wine or, in this case, warm apple cider. The spices used may vary depending on who’s doing the mulling, but cinnamon sticks and whole cloves are fairly standard. Nutmeg, allspice, star anise, orange zest, cardamom and sometimes ginger are also common. Dried fruits like pears, apples or raisins can also be added to the mix. I don’t like it when the spices overpower the flavor of the cider so I’ve kept this mix simple with cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, star anise and apple and orange slices.

Mulling spices are simmered with the cider or wine to allow their flavor to infuse your drink, much like a tea bag adds flavor to hot water. Instead of removing a tea bag, with mulled spices you can strain the spices once you’re ready to drink up.

As much as I love warm cider, I couldn’t resist spiking it with a splash of Cachaça, a Brazilian alcohol made from fermented and distilled fresh sugarcane juice. Most warm ciders are made with rum (and you can certainly use it if you don’t have Cachaça on hand) but I like Cachaça’s bite. It’s less sweet than rum and pairs nicely with the sweetness already present in the cider.


Be sure to use apple cider not apple juice.

You’ll slice the fruit with the skin/peel so rinse the apple and orange thoroughly.

Medium Pot

Strainer (optional)


Mulling spices - warm-apple-cider-with-cachaca-66

Warm Apple Cider with Cachaca

Yield: Serves four.


  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 medium apple, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 cup Cachaca or rum


  1. Bring apple cider, fruit and spices to a boil in a medium pot. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and strain to remove fruit and spices, if desired.
  2. Stir in Cachaca and serve.
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 width= I’m Chef Danielle, personal chef, cooking instructor, food stylist and food writer. I’m teaching you the tips, tools and techniques you need to make cooking simple. Welcome to my kitchen!!
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