This hot spiked apple cider recipe is made with unfiltered apple juice and warm mulling spices. Make it with bourbon or rum, it's ready in about 30 minutes!
Few things are cozier on a chilly day than a spiked hot apple cider cocktail. A warm mug of this concoction made with cinnamon, cloves and other spices just can't be beat.
You can tailor this recipe to your specific tastes and the spices you like best or have on hand. It's easy to make in a pan on the stove or simmer it in a slow cooker, either way your house will smell delicious!
Spiked apple cider ingredients
This spiked hot apple cider recipe can be made with a variety of spices. You can use all of these or just one or two.
- Apple cider or unfiltered apple juice: You may find real apple cider at an orchard or the grocery store, and you may find unfiltered apple juice. And you may find unfiltered apple juice labeled as cider. They are all fine to use!
- Cinnamon sticks: Cinnamon and apples are the most classic combination! If you only use one spice in this recipe, make it cinnamon sticks!
- Whole cloves and whole allspice: Cloves and allspice bring that cozy, warming feeling. Don't be tempted to over do it, though. Too much can create a numbing sensation in your mouth!
- Star anise: Star anise is a flower-shaped pod that has a slight licorice flavor. It's one of the spices used in Chinese 5-spice powder. It can be hard to find and/or expensive, so you can leave it out if you like. I found a high-quality and reasonably priced brand online.
- Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is a must because it takes the edge off the the sweetness of the apple juice. You need it for balance.
- Bourbon or rum: Use a quality brand of your favorite spirit. See below for more info about what kind to use.
How to make spiked apple cider
Step 1: Simmer the apple cider with mulling spices
Add the apple cider or unfiltered apple juice to a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add all spices.
Bring to a low simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and steep for at least 30 minutes or longer if you like.
Step 2: Add bourbon or rum, lemon juice and serve!
Stir in the lemon juice, then remove from heat and spike the spiced cider with bourbon or rum. Ladle into individual glasses and serve piping hot, garnished with a cinnamon stick and star anise.
Make it with bourbon or rum
This spiked apple cider recipe tastes great with bourbon (or other kinds of whiskey) or rum. Both of them taste great in hot drinks, so choose what you like best.
In terms of whiskey, I prefer bourbon, but rye, Irish whiskey or Canadian whiskey would all work well. If you like rum, aged (gold) rum, dark rum, and spiced rum are the best choices.
Serving spiked apple cider
Spiked hot apple cider is a cozy, warming cocktail that you'll want to serve from the earliest crisp morning of fall until spring has finally unfolded.
- Serve spiked apple cider for almost any occasion: Of course it's the perfect cocktail for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But try it for tailgating, on snow days, and any chilly lazy Sunday.
- Serve it in a crock pot (make it in one, too!): Instead of simmering on the stove, you can make spiked apple cider in a crock pot or slow cooker by cooking on low for 2 - 3 hours. Then just leave it on the warm setting and let guests serve themselves.
- Make it without alcohol: If you'd rather mix your own individual cocktails, leave out the alcohol and serve it separately. This way, the kids can enjoy some hot apple cider, too!
- Serve with fall snacks and treats: The beauty of this spiked hot apple cider is that it pairs well with sweet or savory flavors. Try it with Oven Roasted Nuts with Crispy Herbs or Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Dip. Or serve alongside Pumpkin Cookies or Apple Crisp (double the apple, double the fun!)
You can absolutely mix up the types of spices and the amount of them in your spiked apple cider recipe. Use more or less cloves or allspice, omit the star anise if you can't find any, add peppercorns of any color or variety, make it with only cinnamon sticks. Possibilities are endless.
You may not be able to find unfiltered apple juice every time you get a craving for spiked apple cider, so you can absolutely make it with "regular" apple juice. There is a slight variation in flavor, but you'll be adding your mulling spices so it shouldn't make too much difference.
Spiked apple cider should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. How long it will last depends on whether you bought true apple cider, or unfiltered apple juice, and whether or not it was pasteurized. In general, no matter which one you used, it should last at least one week in the refrigerator.
Spiked hot apple cider is your go-to drink for fall!
- Full of apple flavor and cozy spices.
- Can be made with our without alcohol.
- Serve it at almost any occasion from holidays to game gay.
- It's low in calories! Less than 120 calories per serving.
More fall cocktails
- Hot Buttered Rum is a classic warm cocktail choice when the temperatures start to drop.
- Mulled Wine brings even more warm spices into your life!
- A Maple Old Fashioned replaces the sugar in the traditional version with maple syrup. So smooth!
- A Gold Rush Cocktail is like a glass of sunshine on a fall day, made with fresh lemon juice, bourbon, and honey syrup.
- A Hanky Panky Cocktail will take the chill from your bones with the spicy taste of Fernet Branca.
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Spiked Apple Cider Recipe
- 4.5 quart Dutch oven or large sauce pan
- 8 cups unfiltered apple juice (one gallon)
- 4 star anise see note
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 2 teaspoon whole allspice
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1½ cups bourbon or rum
- Add the apple cider or unfiltered apple juice, to a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add all spices.
- Bring to a low simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low and steep for at least 30 minutes or longer if you like.
- Stir in the lemon juice, then remove from heat and add the bourbon or rum. Ladle into individual glasses and garnish with a cinnamon stick and star anise. To keep warm, keep the pan covered over low heat or transfer to a crock pot on low.
- You can adjust the spices according to your taste and what you have on hand.
- Star anise is a flower-shaped pod that has a slight licorice flavor. It's one of the spices used in Chinese 5-spice powder. It can be hard to find and/or expensive, so you can leave it out if you like. I found a high-quality and reasonably priced brand online.
- Instead of simmering on the stove, you can make spiked apple cider in a crock pot by cooking on low for 2 - 3 hours. Then just leave it on the warm setting and let guests serve themselves.
- If you prefer, serve the alcohol on the side and let everyone spike their own drinks.