Looking for a warm drink to cozy up with in the wintertime? This Mulled Cranberry Hot Toddy ties in holiday spices and tart cranberries instead of the usual boring squeeze of lemon. Cooled down, it also makes a unique gift to bring to your next dinner party instead of a bottle of wine. Just pour into glass bottles like these.
The History of Mulling Spices
Mulled wine used to be a trend back with the Romans during the Middle Ages as they moved throughout Europe trading things for spices. As warm, spiced wine became more and more popular, so did the common spice mix known as Mulling Spice. Most commonly, mulling spice is made from cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and dried fruit that was used for mulling.
Mulling spices spread to different regions and other beverages started to be cooked with the spices. Mulled cider came about to celebrate the apple harvest. Eventually, it became custom throughout Europe to bring your neighbors hot, mulled ale or cider during the holiday season. It's for this reason that we associate the smell of mulling spices with the holidays and wintertime.
My Cheat for How To Make Mulling Spice
Sure, you can make your own mulling spices. However, a lot of times that means I have to buy many different spices instead of just one mix. A great option is to buy a good quality mulling spice like this one and add to it things like candied ginger and dried fruit like raisins and orange peel.
How To Make a Mulled Cranberry Hot Toddy
You will find the details in the recipe box below, but here's a few ways to make and use your Toddy mix:
- Buy fresh cranberries when they are abundant in the markets (usually in the fall and winter time). However, frozen cranberries can be used for similar results.
- The recipe is made with light sugar because often we are mixing with things that are sweet. You can always add more sugar if you need to, but I recommend keeping the mix on the tart side.
- I recommend a large mesh tea strainer for infusing the mulling spices. This is also wonderful for mulling wine and cider and liquids that you won't need to strain.
- Make sure that you stir occasionally while warming so that the sugar dissolves and doesn't settle to the bottom and scorch. This will also incorporate the spices as they spread from the infuser.
- Bourbon or Whiskey is the classic Hot Toddy alcohol of choice. However, try switching things up and using Brandy, Cognac, or even a good Apple Whiskey. You can always mix with some apple cider for a non-alcoholic version.
- If making ahead of time, cool down and store chilled for up to 4 weeks. This mix makes a fantastic Sparkling Holiday Cocktail as well. Pour ⅓ of the mix into a champagne flute and then top off with Champagne or Sparkling Wine.
Mulled Cranberry Hot Toddy
- 3 pounds Fresh Cranberry
- 1 ½ cups Cane Sugar or more to your liking
- 8 cups Water
- ½ cup Mulling Spices
- 1 oz Candied Ginger, sliced
- 2 tablespoon Raisins
- 2 cups Bourbon or Apple Whiskey
- *optional Champagne for a chilled sparkling cocktail
- Place the cranberries, sugar, and water in a heavy saucepot and stir.
- Turn the heat on medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved.
- Once the liquid has boiled, turn down to a low simmer.
- Place the mulling spices, candied ginger, and raisins in a large tea strainer and drop into the pot.
- Let the mixture simmer for 1 hour. It will thicken slightly and still be slightly tart. This is so that you can control the sweetness when adding other ingredients.
- Strain the liquid into a clean container and mix in the bourbon.
- Adjust the sugar to your liking. Serve warm.
- If you would like to make for a later time, simply cool the liquid to room temperature and then finish cooling the rest of the way in the refrigerator. I love to bottle this for gifts during the winter when fresh cranberries are abundant