Stirring up a batch of bubbling mulled cider is one of the coziest ways to get into the holiday spirit. Last year my mother-in-law gave me an ornament filled with mulling spices that she found at a local Christmas market. It was a lovely little thing to get, and so useful! I knew it was something I’d like to give because I enjoyed receiving it so much.
It didn’t take a lot of work to DIY a dozen of these gifts. First, I ordered some clear fillable ornaments. They come in different sizes so you can choose how large or small you’d like to make your gift. Keep in mind it only takes 2 tablespoons mulling spices to make 1/2 gallon of apple cider.
Next, I followed a very basic mulling spice recipe to get an idea of what to order in bulk. I used orange peel, cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice – the works! I also included hibiscus which gives mulled cider a ruby red color and mild berry flavor.
If you’re not into mixing your own mulling spices, then you can buy a bag already mixed up from one of my favorite Fair Trade Certified companies, Frontier Spices. It’s organic too, and economical at around $20 for a pound. You can find it here.
The most work you’ll do involves the cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg and star anise. Place them in a zip-top bag with the air removed and use a heavy pan (I used cast iron) to pound them fine. Then it’s as simple as mixing together the spices and then scooping them into the ornament halves. You’ll need some clear cellophane tape to secure the edges, too. That will keep the ornaments from popping open which would be so messy! It’s worth the extra step for insurance.
I added some dehydrated orange slices to my ornaments, which you can find for purchase here. If you have time you can dry your own orange slices by slicing oranges very thin and baking them at 200°F for 2-3 hours. These fit well in the large 3-inch fillable ornaments.
Just add ribbon and a tag with the preparation directions. I printed labels with these Avery Scallop Tags. If you’d like to do the same, you can find the design I used here. Then, you can download the template 80503 at Avery.com and copy and print the directions on the back of the tags.
This spice mix not only makes delicious cider, but it also makes a wonderful mulled wine that will keep you warm on cold nights. If you’re feeling extra-generous, you can gift a mulling spice ornament tied to a bottle of red wine.
Here are a few quick shopping links to supplies!
All spice berries
Dried lemon peel
Dried orange peel
OR 1 lb. pre-mixed organic mulling spices
Clear plastic ornaments
DIY Mulling Spice Ornaments
Yields 12 large (3.14-inch) ornaments
Dried hibiscus gives mulled cider a ruby red appearance and a light berry flavor. It may be omitted for a more traditional mulling spice mix.
1 1/2 cups (4.5 oz.) whole cloves
1 cup (6 oz.)allspice berries
1 1/3 cups (3 oz.) chopped dried orange peel
1 1/3 cups (3 oz.) chopped dried lemon peel
1 cup (3.5 oz.) dried hibiscus
8 nutmeg, whole
10 cinnamon sticks
5 star anise, whole
12 dehydrated orange slices
12 clear 3-inch fillable ornaments
Clear cellophane tape
Tags (see blog post)
Combine the cloves, allspice, orange peel, lemon peel and hibiscus in a large bowl. Mix well.
Place the nutmeg, cinnamon sticks and star anise in a large zip-top bag. Place the bag on a cutting board and crush the spices by pounding them with a heavy cast iron skillet (or other heavy skillet). When the spices are fine, add them to the bowl and stir well until all spices are intermingled.
Use a clear ornament half to scoop out the mulling spices. Place a dehydrated orange slice on top of the filled ornament half. Clasp the second half of the ornament onto the filled half, so that the ornament hanger ends line up. Place a piece of cellophane tape on each side of the ornament to secure the two halves together. This is for extra insurance so the ornament will not accidentally pop open.
Thread a ribbon through the ornament hanger hole and attach a tag with preparation instructions.
Mulled Apple Cider: Add 2 Tbsp. Mulling Spices to 1/2 gallon apple cider; simmer 15 minutes.
Mulled Wine: Add 2 Tbsp. Mulling Spices to 1 (750ml) bottle red wine and 2 cups apple cider. Simmer 15 minutes.
Remove spices before serving.