'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.
Alcohols That Work With Hot Apple Cider
Add alcohol to a single mug or the batch of cider after cooking so the alcohol doesn't cook off. Try one of these.
- Dark rum
- Spiced rum
- Madeira wine
Choosing the Best Cider for Mulled Cider
This recipe works best with fresh-pressed cider that's sold refrigerated rather than shelf-stable cider, which is basically pasteurized apple juice. If you can get cider at a farmers market or local orchard, all the better.
Apple cider is juice pressed from apples, usually early in the season and often unfiltered. It comes pasteurized or unpasteurized. Pasteurization kills off bacteria and other microorganisms and allows the cider to last longer. Unpasteurized juices have not had the bacteria and other microorganisms destroyed. Some people prefer their taste, saying they taste fresher, but there's a very slim chance they could cause a foodborne illness.
This recipe calls for non-alcoholic apple cider (fresh cider). In the United States, we usually refer to alcoholic apple cider as hard cider to differentiate from the non-alcoholic version, but traditionally cider was always alcoholic.
Making Apple Cider Spice Mix in Advance
To make quick work of putting the mulled cider together, combine the cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, freshly ground nutmeg, and cardamom pods and store them in a tightly closed container for several weeks. In fact, if you're going to make this frequently, make several small containers with pre-portioned spices. Use only whole, not ground, spices for this cider so they are easily strained out.
How to Make Mulled Cider in a Slow Cooker
Add all the ingredients (except alcohol, if using) to a 4-quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours. Strain out the oranges and spices. Return to the slow cooker and keep on low so it stays warm for serving.
Mulled Cider Swaps and Subs
- Never substitute ground spices for the whole spices.
- Use 1 teaspoon of molasses or honey instead of brown sugar.
- Substitute equal amounts of honey for the brown sugar.
- Add some cranberry juice to the cider to give it a tart element.
- Grate some fresh ginger into the cider when you add the whole spices.
How to Serve Mulled Cider
Serve mulled cider warm or hot, depending on individual preferences. Serve in a mug with a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange.
Perfect Desserts to Serve With Hot Cider
- Bread Pudding
- Fudgy Brownie Bites
- Gingerbread Cake
- Apple Pie Bars with Crumble Topping
- Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Hot Mulled Cider
Add a little booze right before serving, if you like.
1/2 gallon fresh, unfiltered apple cider (non-alcoholic)
12 whole cloves
4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
15 allspice berries
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
7 whole cardamom pods
2 tablespoons unpacked brown sugar
Simmer the apple cider with orange and spices:
Pour the apple cider into a 3-quart saucepan, cover, turn the heat on medium-high.
While the 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.
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.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 1g||1%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||1%|
|Total Carbohydrate 51g||18%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||16%|
|Total Sugars 39g|
|Vitamin C 187mg||937%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|