This Hot Spiked Apple Cider is the perfect warm weather cocktail for those chilly fall get-togethers of more than 8 people sitting by a fire. It's easy to make in large batches and keep hot. Plus, it will warm your guests from the inside out!
Autumn is hereee! That means pumpkins, smores, brisk weather and SPIKED apple cider!
Mulled apple cider is the perfect large batch drink, like my blackberry punch, to make for company of more than 8-10 people. It is simple to prepare, can be made in advance, and can be served hot OR cold!
I am obsessed with how aromatic and inviting this makes my home smell. Toss out those apple spice candles and whip up a batch of this instead! You can drink it while enjoying the aromatics.
And if you time it justtt right, you can have it simmering away as friends and family walk in. They'll immediately comment on how amazing it smells making the prefect segway to ask, "With rum or without?". 😁
- Apple cider: This can be substituted with apple juice, but I think that it tastes better with the actual cider.
- Cinnamon sticks: These are preferred over ground cinnamon because they have more flavor and provide some color to your drink. If you do not like chunks of spices floating in your drink then make sure to strain them out.
- Nutmeg: This is a must for this recipe because it provides that little bit of spice and flavor. If you do not have nutmeg on hand then just omit or leave out the cloves, star anise pods and ginger!
- Cloves: These are a must for this recipe because they provide some heat and flavor. If you do not have cloves on hand then just omit or leave out the nutmeg, star anise pods and ginger!
- Star Anise Pods: I love these little guys because they add such great spice to your drink with their licorice-like taste.
- Ginger: If you do not like ginger then omit it or leave out the spices. If you want more flavor and color to your drink, add in some fresh chopped pieces of ginger!
- Oranges: I've seen some recipes that suggest adding lemon slices but I love the oranges because they add great flavor and sweetness. If you do not like orange then just omit it!
- Dark Rum: Captain Morgan Spiced Rum or Kraken spiced dark rum work well with this recipe because they are sweet, spicy and super flavorful. If you do not want to add alcohol then just skip it! It will still taste great
Steps For Making Mulled Hot Apple Cider
Step 1: In a large stockpot or dutch oven add the whole cloves, star anise pods, nutmeg, ginger, apple and orange slices and cinnamon sticks.
Step 2: Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours without a lid. The longer the better!
Step 3: Strain your spices using a colander or remove your spice bag if using. (See below.)
Step 4: Add your rum! I suggest Captain Morgan spiced rum but you are welcome to use whatever type of rum that you have on hand or prefer. I also recommend aged dark rums because they complement spiced flavors (See serving options below!)
Whole Spices vs. Ground
I recommend using fresh, whole spiced for apple cider.
They release more flavor and will give your cider more depth.
If you cannot find or do not have access to WHOLE spices, the next option is to use ground spices. If you use pre-ground, be mindful that you'll be able to see the spices floating around the cider.
If this bothers you, use whole spices.
Adding Your Spices To The Pot
When adding spices to your pot of apple cider, you have two options.
One, add the spices whole like I show here. This option will require you to strain your spices before serving. It's an extra step at the end and can be tricky to do when your cider is piping hot.
Two, use a spice bag. This option is an extra step at front but in the end but saves time and effort later by allowing you to simply remove the spices quickly and mess-free. Then you can the cider serve straight from the pot!
Make A Spice Bag
- Take a piece of cheesecloth and put all of your spices inside.
- Carefully tie up the tea bag to ensure that none of the spices spill out
- Simmer for 1-2 hours over medium heat. Keep an eye on your cider mixture so it does not boil over.
Ideas For Serving Apple Cider
When you are ready to serve spiked hot apple cider, you have a few festive options here.
Option 1: Ladle the cider into heat-proof mugs and top with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg.
Option 2: Ladle the cider into heat-proof mugs and garnish with an apple slice, star anise and cinnamon stick.
Option 3: Ladle the cider into heat-proof mugs and allow your guests to "assemble" their own cider drink. Have a cider station set up nearby with spices, whipped cream, booze and sliced fruit like apples, pears and oranges.
Use Your Crock Pot!
If you want to make a large batch of this recipe then I recommend using a crockpot. It's easy and makes it so that your guests can serve themselves or allow the mixture to stay warm for those who trickle in later on!
Just note that some crockpots have hot spots which could burn your drink so keep it on the warm setting when ready to serve.
The Best Serving Vessels
You can serve this spiced apple cider in a variety of ways! I do highly recommend using CLEAR glasses so your guests can see the cider and spices inside but all of these are wonderful choices!
Large Mason Jars: These are the perfect serving vessels for large groups! Just make sure to set out some small spoons so guests don't burn their tongues on the hot liquid inside. (Note: This is my favorite way to enjoy cider)
Clear Glass Mugs: These are what I used here. The are a classic way to serve hot apple cider. Just make sure that you have enough mugs for everyone!
Cups with Lids and Straws: It's cute, it's festive, but most importantly-they are easy to hold onto when sipping through a straw! (Note: The lid makes it perfect for taking on the go!)
Tumblers: This is a 12 pack! They are fun and easy to keep hold of. (Note: They also make for a great take home gift or party favor!)
Recommended Booze Options
- Captain Morgan Spiced Rum: This is what I use since it's a spiced rum, good quality and not too expensive.
- Crown Royal Apple Whiskey: This has a hint of apple which pairs so well with the cider.
- Flavored Vodka: Vanilla, Apple or Caramel flavors would be delicious!
- Evan Williams Cinnamon Whiskey: This will add another spiced kick to your drink and would be great around the holidays!
- Fireball Whiskey: This is also a popular cinnamon spiced whiskey that is sure to warm you up even more!
Other Great Rums:
- Sailor Jerry's 100 Proof Spiced Navy Rum
- Goslings Black Seal
- Appleton Special Gold
- Dark Jamaican Rums
- Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum with Whisky Flavor
Best Bourbon For Spiked Apple Cider
- Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey - This whiskey has a spicy, vanilla and oak flavor that is great for adding to this hot spiced cider.
- Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon- This bourbon has a rich caramel with spice taste perfect in days when you need some extra warmth!
- Elijah Craig 12 Year Old- It's smooth, spicy and full bodied flavor is perfect in this spiked drink!
Note* You can enjoy this cider without alcohol too to make it kid-friendly!
Make Your Cider In Advance!
Like chili, mulled apple cider is best after it sits overnight or even a few days in the fridge.
The flavors get a chance to get to know each other giving the cider a deeper, warmer flavor.
To do this, allow your cider to cool before placing it in the fridge covered. You can add the entire pot to your fridge if it's large enough or transfer it to a gallon-sized pitcher.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between apple cider and mulled apple cider?
Apple cider is made by simmering apples and cinnamon for hours then it's strained and served hot or cooled to be served cold. Mulled apple cider is cider that is simmered with multiple spices usually whole to extract the most flavor then served hot sometimes with booze like rum.
What is the best cider to use for mulled cider?
Ciders that are cloudy and not pre-sweetened are best. This way you can add sweetness if needed later on.
What alcohol goes best with apple cider?
Spiced rums or whiskey are recommended. See liquor options above!
Other Fun Recipes You Might Like!
Spiked Hot Apple Cider Punch With Spices (Mulled)
- 1 gallon apple cider ((unsweetened))
- 4-6 sticks cinnamon
- 10 whole cloves
- 4 whole star anise pods
- 1 cracked nutmeg
- 1-2 inch ginger root
- 2 cups spiced rum
- Slice 1 apple and 1 orange and add to large pot or dutch oven along with spices.
- Top with apple cider and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 hours on low heat uncovered.
- Strain and add back to pot, crock pot or heat-proof punch bowl.
- Add rum and garnish with apple, orange slices, star anise and cinnamon sticks.
- Serve hot or chill and serve cold.