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.
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.
- 1Place 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.
- 2Stir in the brandy and honey, pour into heatproof mugs, and serve.