Spiked apple cider is a warming beverage perfect during the cool holiday season! Easily customize it with your choice of spices and liquor.
Baby, it’s cold outside!
Once the weather cools down, it’s time for a warm beverage to enjoy while you’re wrapped under blankets or lounging fireside.
Spiked apple cider is the perfect drink for winding down after the stressful and jam packed filled days of the holiday season. This mulled cider can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to a week.
Cook up a batch, sit back, and enjoy this drink all week along!
Mulled Apple Cider Cocktail
Spiked apple cider is an easy cocktail to make for one or plenty!
Prepare the mulled apple cider ahead of time to make it easier to assemble. The mulled apple cider will keep in the fridge for five to seven days.
The liquor may be added immediately after cooking the apple cider. Or, it can be added later just before serving.
Mulled apple cider is such a comforting beverage filled with warm spices. It’s the perfect sipping cocktail during holiday season!
Choice of spices and flavorings
Steep your choice of spices into the simmering apple cider. I used a combination of the following:
- orange slices
- whole star anise
- cinnamon sticks
- whole cloves
- allspice berries
It is important to use WHOLE SPICES for this recipe. Do not use ground spices. Ground cinnamon, ground cloves, etc do not work for this recipe.
You will end up with cloudy floating bits of spices. It’s not pretty nor it is pleasant on the palette.
It is best to use whole spices that can steep in the cider. The whole spices can be left to float around the liquid. Or, place the spices in a loose leaf tea pouch (or cheesecloth pouch) for easy removal after steeping.
Other spices or seasonings that would work well in this recipe include:
- whole cardamom pods
- fresh ginger slices
- whole peppercorns
- fresh rosemary sprigs
- vanilla bean
Citrus are at their peak during the winter. This is the season to find blood oranges, clementines, and tangerines.
These citrus fruits make wonderful additions to the mulled apple cider. They also make for colorful garnishes when serving the spiked cider.
What is apple cider?
The labeling of “apple cider” versus “apple juice” varies from state to state. The apple cider used in this recipe refers to unfiltered apple juice.
Unfiltered apple juice is a bit cloudier and thicker than your standard boxed apple juice. Apple cider should only have one ingredient- apples!
Visit an apple orchard or a local farmers’ market to find real deal fresh pressed apple cider.
Don’t confused “apple cider” for hard cider, alcoholic apple cider, or sparkling apple cider. Those are completely different products!
How to serve mulled apple cider?
This cider is best served warm. Place apple cider in a slow cooker (or crockpot) under the “keep warm” setting when serving a large batch for a party or gathering.
Apple cider can also warmed up in small batches in the microwave.
For warm LA winter nights, you may certainly serve this spiced apple cider chilled! Serve the cider cold straight from the fridge. For a lighter chilled version, the cider can be watered down with crushed ice or ice cubes.
Liquor choices for spiked cider
There are numerous liquors that work well with spiked apple cider. Here are some recommendations:
- Spiced Rum
- Dark rum, or aged rum
- Whiskey or Bourbon
You may also add a touch of flavored liqueurs or cordials to add interesting notes. These include:
- Calvados: French apple brandy
- Tuaca: Italian brandy flavored with citrus, vanilla, and spices
- Cointreau: French liqueur flavored with sweet and bitter orange peels
- Amaretto: Italian spirit with almond and caramel flavors
Spiked Apple Cider
- 8 cups (1/2 gallon, 64 oz) apple cider, or unfiltered apple juice*
- 1/2 orange, cut into slices
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 Tbsp cloves
- 1 Tbsp all spice berries
- 2 whole star anise
- 6 Tbsp dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 3/4 cup (14 oz) spiced rum, or dark liquor of choice*
- 4 oz mulled apple cider
- 1 oz spiced rum
- In a large pot, combine apple cider, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice berries, and star anise. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and partially cover pot. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add brown sugar. Stir to combine. Keep pot covered and steep spices for another 30 minutes. Strain and discard spices.
- Bring mixture back to simmer. *If making a large batch, pour in rum.*If making a single serving, portion out 4 to 8 oz of mulled apple cider and add 1 oz rum.Serve warm. Garnish with orange slices, cinnamon stick, or desired spices.
- Apple cider refers to unfiltered apple juice. This apple juice is cloudier and thicker than standard apple juice. Apple cider should only have one ingredient- APPLES!
- Don't confuse apple cider for hard cider or sparkling apple cider. Those are completely different products.
- I recommend spiced rum. Other options include: dark rum or aged rum, brandy, whiskey or bourbon.
- You may also add a touch of flavored liqueur such as Calvados, Tuaca, Cointreau, or Amaretto. I suggest adding 1/2 oz of flavored liqueur per serving.
- Mulled apple cider will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 5 days. The liquor may be added immediately after cooking the cider. Or, it can be added later just before serving.