12 Drinks of Christmas 2016: Pear Walnut Ginger Mulled Cider Cocktail Recipe

12 Drinks of Christmas 2016: Pear Walnut Ginger Mulled Cider Cocktail Recipe

12 Drinks of Christmas 2016: Pear Walnut Ginger Mulled Cider Cocktail Recipe

Happy holidays!

It’s the time of the year for holiday decorations, twinkling lights, warm spices, and a rolling series of parties, gatherings, and celebrations. For the second year in a row, we’ll be adding to the festivities with twelve drinks to make all of those parties just a little merrier and brighter.

One of our favorite things about winter drinking is the fact that it’s not limited to glassware. Mugs get to join in the fun too. Mulling takes a bit more time and patience than stirring or shaking, but when we’re holding that warm mug in our cold hands, and the spicy fragrance wafts up from the steaming cup, the extra effort feels like it’s more than rewarded. That’s especially the case with this exceptionally smooth recipe for mulled cider.

The star of this drink is the pear liqueur, and to carry the drink not just any pear liquor will do. We swear by our Belle be Brillet pear Cognac. The Cognac contributes a warmth of flavor to match the drink’s temperature, something that no vodka could do. Somehow, it has the flavor of a fresh pear picked right off the tree at the height of ripeness, but somehow also the spice of a baked one straight out of the oven. Belle de Brillet is not cheap, but its steep price is matched by its rich flavor. If we were going to economize (a little), we’d go with St. George spiced pear liqueur. We haven’t tasted it; but it’s reviewed favorably, and we trust St. George to do it right.

We actually double down on the rich, expensive liqueur by adding a bit of walnut liqueur as well, for an extra smooth, nutty finish. This isn’t an everyday cider, but for special occasions it’s lusciously rich, smooth, spicy, and warm.

For a Group

serves 8


  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup pear liqueur–as we mentioned, we recommend Belle de Brillet
  • 1/2 cup walnut liqueur–we prefer Don Ciccio & Figli’s Nocino; if you can’t find it, Nux Alpina is widely available.
  • 8 slices fresh ginger
  • 16 cardamom pods


  • Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve in small mugs.

By the Mug


  • 2 oz apple cider
  • 1 oz pear liqueur
  • 1/2 oz walnut liqueur
  • 1 slice ginger
  • 2 cardamom pods


  • Simmer all in a small sauce pan for 5 minutes or so.
  • Keep a close eye on it, to make sure it doesn’t boil away; it quickly becomes a thick caramel mess if you let it boil down.
  • Drink in a mug.

Roberts & June