warm, mulled apple cider is just about the coziest fall beverage i can think of. and as a huge bonus, your home will smell AMAZING by the time you are sipping on a warm mugful of cider. i’ve tried a few different recipes and even a few premixed spice kits for making mulled apple cider over the years and this is the recipe i always come back to. it’s the recipe my friends always (very politely) request that i make. in fact, i’m not even sure why i try other recipes: this one is always delicious and it’s very simple to make.
this recipe is also pretty forgiving: whether you simmer the cider for 30 minutes or an hour, it’s going to be good. you can simmer it for longer, just be prepared for it to start to separate a bit more. i won’t pretend i know the science behind it, all i know is it still tastes just as good but if you’re serving it to guests, you may prefer the aesthetics of the simmered-for-under-an-hour version. you can always simmer it for under an hour, then briefly heat up individual servings as needed.
the other thing that will help keep the cider from separating is to avoid letting it come to a boil. again, it still tastes (and smells!) amazing, it just might be a bit disconcerting if you forget about the cider, let it boil for half an hour, and then come back to find it all wonky looking. so if you want it to stay “cider-y” looking, simmer, and for not more than an hour.
and along those lines, if you want to make this in a slow cooker to keep warm for hours during a party, you absolutely can, just know that towards the end of the party, guests are going to need to give it a stir before pouring ladlefuls into their mugs. again, it tastes and smells delicious! it just looks a little funny.
in terms of timing in the slow cooker, you’ll want to leave extra time on the front end for the cider to heat up and start simmering in the slow cooker (more specific directions appear below in the recipe instructions). but your guests will certainly be happy campers when they walk into your deliciously scented house and you hand them a warm mug that is the source of all the good smells. yum! happy fall indeed.
- 64 oz. apple cider
- 2 cinnamon sticks, 3″ long each
- 10 whole cloves
- 1 navel orange, peeled and sliced in half crosswise
- 1″ of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 6 thin slices
- gently shake the cider then pour it into a large stock pot or dutch oven. add the cinnamon, cloves, orange, and ginger.
- set the pan over medium heat and set a timer for 30 minutes. stir the cider occasionally and keep an eye on it so that you can turn down the heat as necessary to keep the cider just at a simmer, not boiling.
- after 30 minutes, the cider is ready to enjoy but you can let it simmer for up to another 30 minutes (60 minutes total) for maximum spiced goodness. you can let it simmer longer, but it will be more prone to separating.
- either strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve before serving or ladle out servings carefully, avoiding the cloves. serve warm.
- slow cooker version combine the cider with the other ingredients in your slow cooker and set to high. once the cider begins to simmer (allot at least 90 minutes for the cider to start simmering if it starts cold from the refrigerator), turn the heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes. you can let it simmer longer, but it will be more prone to separating.
if you have cider leftover, use a funnel to carefully pour it back into the cider container and store it in the refrigerator for up to three days. warm individual servings in the microwave or on the stovetop as needed.
adapted from a 1991 gourmet recipe for mulled apple cider with orange and ginger