Hot Mulled Cider

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

  • 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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  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Hannah

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

  • Joy Swinehart

    Just wondering ahead before I make up my batch in the morning. When making the mulled cider and you want to double the recipe, do you double the spices too?

    Yes, that would be a good idea, though not absolutely necessary. ~Elise

  • Greg Esres

    Some people choose not to add the brown sugar because it makes the cider too sweet. I wonder if you could get the flavor of the brown sugar without the sweetness by just adding a teaspoon of molasses?

    That should work fine. ~Elise

  • Helen

    I made this last night for a Party and it went down really well (literally!). I used the same recipe to make Hot Mulled Apple juice for the drivers as well. By the end of the evening everyone was standing in the kitchen so they could fill their glasses up as soon as they emptied. Delicous!

  • Elise

    The cardamom pods will also last much longer than ground cardamom.

  • Sara

    Tara — To get cardomom pods, just go to an Indian or Middle Eastern store. When you add them to anything, you need to crack open the pod so the liquid comes in contact with the seeds. Whole cardomom is much more flavorful than the ground stuff you buy in the grocery store.

  • Anonymous

    Your question made me curious so I found this site:
    I’ve seen those at my local Halal Mart. Other places that deal in bulk herbs/spices might have them too.

  • Tara

    I’ve been wondering something for a long time… what is the difference between cardamom pods and the cardomom I see at stores? I have only seen and bought “cardamom” and it looks like litte grains, not pods. I’ve never seen anything that looks like pods labeled “cardamom”. What am I missing here?

    When I have recipes that call for ‘pods’ I will often be brave and just use about 10 ‘seeds’ for each ‘pod’ called for. Is this a bit error?