Mulled cider doesn’t have to come from a big plastic jug at the grocery store–some of that stuff tastes like turpentine. Instead make your own with a few simple spices and good apple juice or high quality cider, then sit back with a blanket and feel the cozy.Jump to Recipe
Hot mulled cider screams “Deck the halls y’all”!
If you’re a mulled cider fan, I just can’t tell you how wonderful this drink is–because you know. But if you want to make it yourself for pennies compared to buying expensive pre-made mixes, this is the way to go.
Once you have the ingredients (which are mostly all shelf-stable), you just need a bottle of apple juice and you can enjoy this special treat all through the cold days to come.
What’s in mulled cider?
Mulled cider is made with either apple juice or apple cider and then seasoned with flavorings like nutmeg, allspice, cloves, orange peel and cinnamon. It’s usually enjoyed hot.
What cider is best to use in this recipe?
Any good apple cider will work here. It should be cloudy in the container (apple juice will also work if you can’t find cider) but it should smell like a fresh, sweet apple. Make sure you don’t buy anything that says “juice cocktail” or that has additives like corn syrup in it.
Does mulled cider have alcohol in it?
No, it doesn’t. You can add alcohol if that’s your thing. The cider can however go “off” after a couple of weeks in the fridge creating its own natural alcohols and make a natural hard cider.
Apple cider vs mulled apple cider
The difference between good ol’ fashioned apple cider and mulled cider is the “mulled” part.
To mull a beverage means to heat, sweeten, and flavor with spices (according to Merriam-Webster and any chef you ask). So, mulled cider is simply apple cider that has had spices added to it and has been warmed up to create a chill-fighting, delicious beverage.
No need to sweeten here (although you can if you’d like to; see my notes below) because cider is sweet on its own.
Should I use apple juice or apple cider?
You can use either apple juice or apple cider in this recipe although I much prefer using the latter. Apple juice is clear, filtered, and just a little less exciting on the palate if you ask me.
Apple cider is darker in color, unfiltered, and usually unpasteurized. Unpasteurized products tend to retain their natural flavors and nutrients better. Yum.
Another reason to use apple cider is that it has a nice tang to it when compared to apple juice. It will also ferment more quickly. Hard cider anyone?
What cider is best to use?
There are so many ciders on the market. It can be overwhelming. I suggest selecting a product that is unsweetened and unprocessed. Why unsweetened? Selecting an unsweetened product is better for your overall health.
Plus, the warm spices added to this delicious beverage provide more than enough flavor. You won’t miss the added sugar.
Is mulled apple cider good for you?
It’s hard to believe that something that tastes so good could actually be good for you. Let’s go through a couple of its awesome health benefits.
- No added sugar. Cider is sweetened by means of natural sugars. So much better for you than granulated sugar and other inflammatory sweeteners.
- Fiber. Apple cider is high in fiber. Fiber is great for digestion and gut health to name just a couple of reasons to incorporate it into your diet.
- A little spice goes a long way. The spices in this delicious beverage contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and other minerals that give your health a boost with the added bonus of tasting delicious.
- Soothing. Mulled cider is warm and soothing, which can promote relaxation and help you keep pesky stress hormones under control.
Tips and tricks for the best mulled apple cider
This recipe is quite straight forward but, as with anything, there are a few tips and tricks that will end you with the best end product possible. Here they come.
- Apple cider vinegar. Add just the tiniest dash, especially if you are using apple juice. It will deepen the flavor.
- Sweeten. If your cider is a bit too sour, go ahead and add a little sweetener. I enjoy adding a bit of honey or maple syrup but raw cane sugar is a great option as well.
- Opt for whole spices. Whole spices will impart flavor to the beverage without leaving you with the gritty texture you might get from using ground spices.
- Use a cheesecloth. Wrap your spices in cheesecloth and submerge them in the cider. This will ensure that the spices impart flavor without ending up as a nuisance in your mug.
Can mulled cider be made in a slow cooker?
Absolutely! In fact, this is one of my favorite ways to do it. Cooking the spices together with the apple cider low and slow in the crock pot will ensure that the flavors meld together optimally. Plus the house will smell amazing for hours.
What spices should I use in mulled cider?
While you are welcome to throw your own spin on this cozy mulled cider, there are several spices that are most commonly used. Allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon are the classic choices.
Play around with combinations and ratios and let me know your favorite!
What are some fun variations?
If you want to step outside the classic, I fully encourage you to play around with variations on this cozy treat. Here are some ideas.
- Add a bit of pomegranate. Try this recipe for Mulled Pomegranate Apple Cider.
- Consider adding orange slices as done here.
- Introduce cranberries to the mix. Check out this recipe for inspiration.
How to store mulled apple cider
Make a big batch of this mulled cider and enjoy it throughout the week or weekend (it’s great for when you have family in town for an extended period of time).
Allow the cider to cool before sealing it in an airtight container and storing it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. When you are ready to pour yourself a toasty mug, reheat it gently on the stovetop and enjoy.
What should I serve with mulled cider?
We usually enjoy ours during holiday dinner parties, at baby showers, or something similar so I usually recommend easy appetizers alongside. You might like to try:
- 6 cups 100% apple cider or apple juice
- 2 teaspoons allspice whole
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 3-inch fresh orange peel
- 2 large cinnamon sticks
- Place all of the ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to low and cook 5-7 minutes until the spices release their flavor.
- Cool slightly and serve warm.
- Store leftovers (cooled) in the apple juice container or a jar in the fridge for 7-10 days. It's okay to leave the spices in during storage.