Makes:6 to 8 servings
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.
4 (22-ounce) bottleshard pear cider
Zest of 1 medium orange, removed in large strips
1 (3-inch) pieceginger, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
1vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped, seeds and pod reserved (optional)
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.