I'm not the greatest cook or baker, although, and my boyfriend can agree, I've come a looooong way in the past three years. My grandmother and my mother are famous for their cooking abilities - so I'm not really sure what my excuse is. Naturally I am constantly on the phone with my mother asking for advice on how to do something, and one thing I've gotta say she is great for is the occasional cooking short cut. She just knows when its worth it to start something from scratch and when you can save yourself either a few minutes or a few dollars and get the store bought version.
So this weekend I called to ask her what the hell mulled cider was. She basically explained that is was several spices added to regular cider, and warmed up. She first suggested I just purchase "mulling spices that I can easily find at a Williams Sonoma" to which I reminded her that despite living in NYC, its not easy for me to find things like that within walking distance. So she recommended I look for "constant comment" tea bags in the tea section of my grocery store. For once, I actually found something easily in my crumby grocery store and I can't even tell you if I found the one brand that makes "constant comment" or if my store only had one brand of it. In any case, it was described as orange rinds and other spices - which is pretty much what my mother said mulling spices were. Perfect! A half gallon of cider (which I was also surprised to actually find) and a box of tea bags and I was all set for my contribution to Book Club. We warmed up the cider in a stove pot to just under a boil, and decided to give each mug its own tea bag so each person could decide on how long they wanted it to steep. The drink was great - a little tangy from the orange, but the cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg managed to take some of the bitterness out of the cider itself. Super easy and a nice treat on a cold day. Thanks Mom!!