Hot Mulled Cider

DrinkHolidayApple CiderCider

Spicy hot mulled apple cider cooked with a clove-studded orange, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom and brown sugar.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Tis the season to be jolly, and to drink hot mulled cider!

This delicious hot apple cider drink is a specialty of New England.

Spiced with a clove-studded orange, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon, hot mulled cider is the perfect drink to serve during the holidays.

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Hot Mulled Cider Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 8 cups


  • 1/2 gallon of fresh, unfiltered apple cider (non-alcoholic)
  • 1 orange
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 4 3-inch sticks of cinnamon
  • 15 allspice berries
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 7 pods of cardamom
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar (optional)


1 Simmer apple cider with orange and spices: Pour apple cider into a 3-quart saucepan, cover, turn the heat on medium-high.

While cider is heating up, take a vegetable peeler and peel away a couple thick strips of peel from the orange. Press about half of the cloves into the peeled part of the orange. (You can also just quarter the orange and add the slices and cloves separately. I just like seeing the orange bob up and down.)

Place orange, orange peel strips, the remaining cloves, and the rest of the ingredients into the sauce pan with the cider. Keep covered and heat the mulled cider mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.

2 Strain out the orange and spices: Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the hot mulled cider away from the orange, cloves, and other spices.

If you want, you can add a touch of bourbon, brandy, or rum to spike it up a bit.

Serve hot. Add a cinnamon stick to each cup if desired.

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Hot Mulled Cider

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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16 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Ralph

    I am a complete rookie of a cook. I made this recipe and it turned out great. I did it exactly as instructed. I added half an ounce of dark rum in 8 ounces and it enhanced the taste even further hardly noticeable just a hint of rum.


  2. Alistair

    Made a version of this last night.

    Medium westons cider
    Brown sugar – not much
    Small ammount of honey
    Splash of orange juice
    Lemon juice – left over from Tuesday
    Good slug of Talisker malt whiskey

    Very nice on a frosty night

  3. Beth

    I was wondering, what kind of liquor would you be best to add to this tasty recipe? Spiced rum?

    I don’t really drink, so I’m probably not the best person to ask. Rum sounds good to me. If you try it with rum, or some other alcohol, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

    Show Replies (2)
  4. Carol Kean

    I left the cloves in too long and my hot cider (wassail) turned bitter. The first gallon went fast (freshly mulled) but the second gallon is still in my fridge. I had wondered why guests suddenly stopped drinking it. Is that last gallon a loss, or is there hope for it? More sugar, add more apple juice? Thanks.

    Don’t know. You might try diluting it with more apple juice. But start with a small amount as an experiment to see if it makes a difference. ~Elise

  5. Hannah

    Would the same spices work for making a mulled red wine? Just curious. That’s another drink I would like to try.

    Show Replies (1)
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