Mulling spices have traditionally been used to add flavor to alcoholic beverages such as beer, cider, and wine. The “recipe,” such as it is, is quite easy: gently simmer one quart (four cups) of your preferred beverage with two tablespoons of mulling spices for up to 20 minutes; add half a cup of sugar if you like it extra sweet. You can also prepare your mulled beverage in the crockpot and let it simmer on low for four hours (or high for two).
Want to get fancy? Try using mulling spices in place of tea (or along with it!) in our Holiday Sangria recipe or use them in a riff on Krista’s festive Mulled Apple Wine. If you really want to get decadent, infuse spices into your favorite brandy via our instructions. Or infuse the spices into a hard liquor such as vodka, rum, or whiskey and use it to create exciting new cocktails.
If you feel the need to cool off -- or are just looking for a fun add-in for punch or those aforementioned cocktails -- try steeping your spices in water and turning them into ice cubes.
To make a spicy-sweet topping for pancakes, waffles, and other breakfast goodies, place two tablespoons mulling spices in a cheesecloth or tea infuser bag and add to 1 1/2 cups maple syrup or honey in a saucepan. Simmer on low for about five minutes, then cover and place in the fridge for 24 hours before discarding spices. You can also make a deliciously spiced fruit syrup using a similar method, or shake up some infused sugar to sprinkle on baked goods.
Speaking of which, as mentioned above, you can use mulling spices in just about any way you would tea, so why not try them in desserts? Start with something easy like ice cream, ice pops, or rice pudding before moving on to syllabub. Once you’re feeling brave, grind up those spices and use them in place of tea in our Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bars, shortbread cookies, or Apple Cardamom Crumb Cake.
Savory, Sour, & Other Ideas
Mulling spices don’t have to stick to the sweet side, though. They actually infuse wonderfully with apple cider vinegar and make for a yummy salad dressing. Just simmer two cups vinegar together with two tablespoons spices for about a minute, then remove from heat and allow to cool for two or three hours.
Infuse mulling spices into milk or cream and use it to whip up some delectable cocoa or a tea latte. You could also simply steep them and drink them as a warming deterrent against winter chill; adding lemon juice and fresh ginger makes a wonderful tonic to ward off illness.
They also work in our tea-infused quinoa recipes for a festive twist on healthy winter meals. Or use them to create homemade kitchen and bath salts for personal use or gifting.
Speaking of the bath, many of the ingredients in mulling spices are good for the skin, so why not use them as an invigorating soak? And if you just love the comforting fragrance of seasonal spices, simply place them in a bowl and set it out as potpourri for your home.
Plum Deluxe offers both traditional and vanilla hand-blended mulling spice. You can use either, depending on your project and infusion creativity.
Coffee cake photo by Phoebe Canakis, all others are courtesy of the author.