How To Make Homemade Mulling Spices So You’re Ready For All The Fall Drinks
Get ready to mull all the things.
Few things warm a body up faster than a piping hot cup of mulled wine in the cooler months — but wine is far from the only thing that you can mull. The unique spice blend that gives mulled wine and cider its distinctive fall-infused taste can be used in a wide variety of seasonal drinks, baked goods, and even as an autumnal potpourri (easiest way to make your house smell like Williams Sonoma or Pottery Barn!). With so many uses, it only makes sense to keep mulling spice on hand throughout the fall and winter.
Can you buy pre-blended mulling spices at your local grocery store? Obviously. But it’s equally easy to whip up a batch at home, which has some pretty great benefits. Making your own mulling spice allows you to control the ingredients while also ensuring you have plenty on hand for every occasion. When stored in an airtight container, mulling spices can last up to three months, so one batch should carry you through the holiday season — and it even makes a nice gift when paired with a bottle of wine or jug of apple cider. And then there’s perhaps the biggest benefit of all: whipping up a batch will have your house smelling like fall has taken over (in a good way).
Ready to get mulling? Read on for all the ingredients you need for your homemade mulling spices, plus a few creative ideas on putting all that spicy goodness to good use this fall.
What are mulling spices?
There seems to be some debate over the origin of the term “mulling.” It could be derived from the Latin word “mulsa,” which was a drink containing honey and wine, or it could be from the English term “mull,” which means to contemplate something. One thing is certain: People have been drinking mulled wine and cider for a very long time now.
Early versions of mulled wine popped up in the Roman Empire, before countries like England and Germany made the drink a Christmas staple. Meanwhile, mulled cider appears to have evolved out of the U.K.’s love for wassail, an early version of mulled cider. The mulled cider craze only intensified when early American settlers planted apple orchards in New England.
The one commonality that ties the various drinks together is the use of spices like cinnamon and star anise to give mulled beverages their warm, comforting flavor. Even though each recipe for mulling spice is a bit different, they all share certain base ingredients that are associated with fall and winter. Ultimately, if you love pumpkin spice blends or the flavors of cinnamon and ginger, then you’ll be happy to have a mulling spice at the ready as the weather turns cool.
How do you make homemade mulling spices?
Mulling spice blends vary based on personal preference and the size of the batch you’re making, but the following ingredients are essential:
- Cinnamon sticks
- Allspice berries
- Black peppercorns
- Star anise
- Dried orange peel and/or dried lemon peel
Here’s a classic combination you can start with and then adjust according to your tastes:
- 8 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole star anise
- 4 dried orange slices
- 1 tbsp allspice berries
- 1 tbsp whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp green cardamom seeds
Once you’ve decided on your recipe, you’ll want to combine all the ingredients in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin (specifically when a recipe calls for whole spices, like the one above). Some recipes call for the mulling spices to be wrapped in cheesecloth before dropping them into the hot wine or cider — but this will depend on whether you’re making a mulled drink or another dish.
What can you make with mulling spices?
After you’ve prepared your blend, you can get creative with your mulled treats. Mulled spices aren’t just for wine and cider anymore. In fact, you can even use them in place of pumpkin spice in baking recipes (sorry, PSL fans). Here are a few ways you can use up your delicious blend of mulling spices:
- Mulled wine
- Mulled cider
- Spiced coffee
- Spiced hot cocoa
- Spiced ice cubes for punch
- Gingerbread cookies
- Spice cake
- Spiced waffles
- Apple crumb cake
- Spice rub for pork chops, chicken, or roasted vegetables
- Stovetop potpourri
Now you’re ready to mull all winter long!