Apples and warm spice have pretty much cornered the market as far as mulled ciders go, but swapping in pear is a pleasant change. Warm the hard cider in a big pot and steep it with ginger chunks, orange peel, and vanilla. Before serving, stir in some honey and a hefty dose of brandy.
What to buy: There are varying qualities of hard pear cider on the market; look for one that has a distinct pear flavor and isn’t too sweet. We like Ace or Wyder’s brands.
Game plan: You can make the cider ahead of time through step 1, cover, and refrigerate for up to 4 days. When you’re ready to serve, reheat the cider and proceed with step 2.
- Yield: 6 – 8 drinks
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 40 mins
- Active: 10 mins
- 4 (22-ounce) bottles hard pear cider
- Zest of 1 medium orange, removed in large strips
- 1 (3-inch) piece ginger, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped, seeds and pod reserved (optional)
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1/2 cup honey
- Place the cider, orange zest, ginger, and vanilla seeds and pod (if using) in a large pot, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the brandy and honey, pour into heatproof mugs, and serve.