Looking for a classic drink for your holiday dinners and parties? This Hot Mulled Apple Cider is the ultimate hot holiday drink that has all the flavors of the holidays. Served virgin or with alcohol, this mulled spiced cider smells just as good as it tastes! Can be made on the stove top or in a slow cooker.
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Once you smell the spiced, sweet aromas of this mulled apple cider filling the air, it will immediately become the holidays! Smells and flavors of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg combine with apple cider and cranberry juice to create the most wonderful holiday drink.
This delicious libation can be made on the stove top or in your slow cooker. It’s the perfect drink to serve to your guests for a holiday party. It can also be served with either spiced rum, whiskey or brandy for the ultimate holiday cocktail!
Here’s everything you need to know how to make mulled cider:
What you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Cinnamon sticks
- Whole nutmeg
- Whole cloves
- Star anise
- Apple cider – if this is not in season or unavailable, you can use apple juice
- Cranberry juice
- Fresh cranberries
- Apples – Honey Crisp, Granny Smith or a combination is ideal
Liquor for serving:
- Any one of the following: Spiced Rum, Brandy or Whiskey
- Spiced Rum Recommendations: Kraken, Captain Morgan, Bacardi or Sailor Jerry
- Whiskey: Woodford Reserve, Russel’s Reserve, Knob Creek or Fireball
- Brandy: Hennessey or Courvoisier
For exact ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post for the recipe. Thanks!
How to Make Mulled Cider:
You’ll first begin by heating the spices (over medium low heat) in a large stock pot. Heating the cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and star anise will help release the oils and bring out the flavors and aromas. If you’re using a slow cooker to make your mulled cider, you can do this in a skillet, and then add the spices to the slow cooker.
Once the spices have heated (until they become fragrant), you can then add the apple cider and cranberry juice. Reduce the heat to low, as you do NOT want the juices to boil.
Ingredient Substitutions and Recommendations:
- Cranberry juice – if you prefer to not use cranberry juice, orange juice is a good option.
- Not able to find Star Anise? You can add a few extra cloves or a couple extra cinnamon sticks as a substitution.
- Want to serve virgin? Feel free to omit the alcohol entirely. Serving with liquor is traditional, but not necessary.
For exact ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions be sure to scroll down to the recipe at the bottom of the post. Thanks!
Once the juices and spices have cooked on the stovetop for 45-50 minutes, add the fruit and let it heat for 5-10 more minutes.
Note: You DONT want the fruit to cook. It will become mushy and unappealing. Consider the fruit as a garnish to serve in each glass. It is meant to be served hot alongside the cider.
Frequently asked questions about mulled apple cider:
Traditionally hot (mulled) apple cider is served with either spiced rum, whiskey or brandy.
Whiskey Options: Woodford Reserve, Russel’s Reserve or Knob Creek are all great options.
Spiced Rum Options: Kraken, Captain Morgan, Bacardi or Sailor Jerry are great.
Brandy: Hennessy or Courvoisier, or the best quality brandy you can afford.
Fresh apple cider is typically raw, unfiltered and relatively unprocessed. It often contains more apple pulp and sediment. Apple juice has been filtered to remove solids and pasteurized to stay fresher longer.
Apple cider is drank cold with nothing added. Mulled apple cider is serve hot, with spices and fruit added. Mulled cider is typically serve with alcohol, like whiskey, spiced rum or brandy.
Mulled cider is a combination of juices, like apple cider, orange or cranberry juice. It is heated with spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and anise. It is often served hot with alcohol, like whiskey, spiced rum or brandy.
A mug with a handle is best for serving hot mulled apple cider. Because the liquid is hot, you don’t want your hand to become hot or burned when holding the drink.
What can I serve with mulled spiced cider?
This classic holiday drink is great for holiday dinners and parties. Here are some of my other holiday party foods and appetizers that would go great with a mug of hot cider:
- Honey Roasted Mixed Nuts
- Crock Pot Cranberry Sauce Meatballs
- Apple Cider Cake
- Dutch Apple Pie Bars
- Chewy Ginger Snap Cookies
- Peppermint Crunch Fudge over at Real Housemoms
When ready to serve, top each mug of cider with slices of fruit, cranberries and additional cinnamon sticks. Not only will this classic drink look amazing, it smells and tastes just like the holidays!
If you loved this Hot Mulled Apple Cider, check out some of my other holiday drinks:
- 10 whole cloves
- 8 cinnamon sticks
- 2 star anise
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 8 c. of apple cider
- 2 c. of cranberry juice
- 1 honey crisp apple, sliced horizontally
- 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced horizontally
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 1/2 c. fresh cranberries
Alcohol for serving (optional):
- 1 oz. shot (per mug) of either brandy, spiced rum or whiskey of your choice
- To a large stock pot, add the spices and heat on medium low for 5-10 minutes or until they become fragrant.
- Reduce heat to low, and add the apple cider and cranberry juice. DONT boil. Heat juices and spices for 45-50 minutes.
- Add the sliced apples, oranges and cranberries. Heat for no more than 10 minutes on low.
- Ladle into mugs, and add 1 oz. shot of either spiced rum, whiskey or brandy of your choosing. (Alcohol is optional.) Garnish with fruit and additional cinnamon sticks, if desired.
Crock Pot / Slow Cooker Directions:
In a skillet, heat the spices for 5-10 minutes or until the become fragrant. Transfer spices to your slow cooker and add the apple cider and cranberry juice. Heat on low for 4-6 hours. 15 minutes before serving, add the fruit. Ladle into mugs with the fruit and add alcohol, if desired.
Orange juice can be substituted for cranberry juice if desired.
If star anise is unavailable, feel free to add a few more cloves and/or a couple more cinnamon sticks.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 servings Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 217Total Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 0g