DIY: Homemade Mulling Spice Blends
It's time to put down that pumpkin spice people and start singing the praises of mulling blends!
I'm on a personal campaign this year to get everyone to mull more things - and in new ways! Mulling spice isn't just for bad grog wine, think about infusing a simple syrup for cocktails...or infuse your milk of choice for a holiday latte like non other. Heck, get on that wine poached pear business WITH mulling spices and then turn THAT into a dessert or cocktail (I did just that and you can check it out here - tastes amazing).
The uses are endless - be it in bevy or bite form. Not to mention they make for a great gift - especially during the holidays (don't you think the host of your next dinner party might love how creative and thoughtful you are!? Of course, you spice blending magic maker - Get on this!)
Where the traditional blend is exceptional, I've been playing around with a few new additions to the classic. Think the unexpected heat of ginger, or the floral notes of cardamon...I'm even talking about a little mouth tingle from Szechuan Peppercorns. Crazy, I know.
This as a choose your own spice adventure that you're going to love experimenting with over and over. There are no rules here, or recipe for that matter - only key thing is to using quality whole spices, of course. My current favorite Mulling Spice Blends ideas below, I hope that you try making your own this season and let me know which combos you're loving best!
Now let's blend something up, you spicy thing!
The OG BlendCinnamon Sticks | Allspice Berries | Whole Cloves | Dried Orange Peel
The typical store bought mulling spice blends consist of cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, whole cloves and dried orange peel. Nothing says holiday flavor quite like this. If you're new to mulling spices I'd suggest starting here and then see which of the new flavor combos you might want to start with first.
One easiest ways to kick this OG blend up to gourmet status is by dehydrating your own citrus. Yes you can buy citrus peel by the bulk - but don't you think a little jewel toned citrus wheel of blood orange or Valencia orange will just look divine in your spice blend!? The answer is absolutely yes!
Exotic ExtrasStar Anise | Cardamom Pods | Juniper Berries
Lately I've been adding three new spices to my OG blend: Star Anise, Cardamom Pods and Juniper Berries. This trio is a dream team together and pair perfectly with the traditional blend. By infusing these spices you're bringing in a few floral and botanical notes into the mix which is warm and robust. Just keep in mind that these are powerful flavors so a little goes a long way - stick to a few pods/berries to start and build your flavor to preference.
Star Anise: To add a slight licorice flavor.
Juniper Berries: For a pine-like citrus hit.
Cardamom: Herbal, Floral & slightly citrusy.
Holiday HitsWhole Nutmeg | Crystallized Ginger
If you really want to hop up on those classic winter flavors - adding whole nutmeg and crystalized ginger to your OG blend will really make it pop, not to mention your kitchen smell divine. These flavors add some unexpected sharp heat and sweetness as well, all good things in my book!
Nutmeg: Nutty, Sweet with a little heated
Crystalized Ginger: Sweet, sharp with a little bit of heat (Also pairs well with cardamon)
Pop Of PepperSzechuan Peppercorns | Mixed Whole Peppercorns
Here's where we steer off the track and take a little bit of a curve ball approach to classic mulling flavors. But trust me, this is where things get interesting. If you want to add a little heat and a little bit of adventure to your mix, pepper is your secret weapon. I suggest starting with whole peppercorns (get the mixed variety as they differ in flavor and add a unique flavor profile to the OG blend). Once you're feeling more adventurous, try substituting peppercorns with a small pinch of Szechuan for a mouth tingling citrus forward experience that I'm pretty sure no mulling spice has done before!