Best Mulled Cider Ever

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The Best Mulled Cider Ever is delicious, easy to make in a slow cooker, and full of festive flavor! Perfect for Christmas party drinks – non-alcoholic and spiked versions included. 

fresh cranberries, apple slices, lemons, limes, cinnamon stick in a bowl
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Slow Cooker Mulled Cider

Slow cooker mulled cider is a quintessential autumn and winter beverage, exuding a warm and inviting aroma that fills the home with a sense of comfort and festivity. By gently heating the cider along with a blend of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and orange slices in a slow cooker, the flavors have time to meld together beautifully, creating a rich and layered taste experience. The low and slow cooking process ensures that the spices infuse thoroughly without boiling away the delicate nuances of the apple cider.

This method is incredibly convenient for gatherings, allowing hosts to prepare the cider in advance and keep it warm for hours, making it accessible for guests to serve themselves at their leisure. The versatility of slow cooker mulled cider also lies in its adaptability; it can be easily customized with additions like star anise, ginger, or even a splash of rum or brandy for an adult twist. Serving slow cooker mulled cider becomes a simple yet heartwarming gesture, offering a cup of cheer that symbolizes the cozy embrace of the colder seasons. My family loves this cider and it’s a huge hit at holiday parties!

How to Make Mulled Cider

First assemble the following ingredients:

  • Apple (1) – Apples lend a sweet and slightly tart foundation, embodying the quintessential fall fruitiness that is the heart of cider.
  • Orange (1) – Oranges infuse a bright, citrusy sweetness that adds depth and complements the apple’s tartness.
  • Lime (1) – Lime contributes a zesty, tangy twist, cutting through the sweetness with its sharp, refreshing acidity.
  • Cranberries (2 cups) – Cranberries introduce a vibrant, tart burst, adding a beautiful color and a hint of sharpness that balances the cider’s sweetness.
  • Apple juice, or cider (4 cups) – Apple juice intensifies the cider’s natural apple flavor, enhancing its sweetness and fruity notes.
  • White grape juice (2 cups) – White grape juice adds a subtle, sweet vinous character, contributing to the cider’s complexity without overpowering the apple flavor.
  • Elderflower cordial (1 cup) – Elderflower cordial imparts a delicately floral and slightly sweet note, bringing a unique, aromatic layer to the cider.
  • Cranberry juice (1 cup) – Cranberry juice deepens the tartness and adds a robust, fruity dimension, enriching the cider’s overall flavor profile.
  • Mulling spices (2 tbsp) – Mulling spices, typically a blend of cinnamon, whole cloves, allspice, cardamom pods, and sometimes nutmeg, weave in a warm, aromatic complexity that defines the essence of mulled cider.

Use this Method:

Combine and Simmer. In a large crockpot, add ingredients and simmer on low for 2 hours, stir occasionally.

Serve. When serving, remove citrus and cranberries from crockpot after 3 hours, or it will become very tart and bitter. You can also strain the mixture and pour into an insulated pitcher for hot mulled cider.

Ginger cranberry apple cider crockpot recipe.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Cider

Choose Your Cider Wisely: Start with high-quality, fresh apple cider for the best flavor base. Avoid ciders with added sugars or artificial flavors, as these can become overly sweet or artificial-tasting when mulled.

Toast Your Spices: Briefly toasting whole spices like cloves, cinnamon sticks, and allspice berries in a dry pan before adding them to the cider can intensify their flavors and add depth to the cider.

Use a Spice Bag: Place your spices in a cheesecloth bag or tea infuser for easy removal. This prevents the spices from becoming overpowering and makes for a clearer cider.

Go Fresh with Citrus: Adding slices of fresh oranges or even lemons can provide a vibrant citrus note that balances the sweetness of the cider and the warmth of the spices. You can also add orange peel for more citrus.

Low and Slow is Key: Cook your mulled cider on the low setting of your slow cooker to avoid boiling, which can evaporate some of the alcohol if you’re spiking your cider and can also affect the delicate flavors.

Sweeten to Taste: If your cider isn’t as sweet as you’d like, consider adding brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Add sweeteners gradually and taste as you go to achieve the perfect balance.

Experiment with Add-Ins: Feel free to experiment with additional ingredients such as star anise, ginger slices, or a splash of vanilla extract to create a unique flavor profile.

Spike It (If Desired): For an adult version, consider adding a splash of dark rum, brandy, or bourbon towards the end of the cooking time to preserve the alcohol content.

Garnish Thoughtfully: Enhance the presentation and flavor with garnishes like a cinnamon stick, an orange slice, or a sprig of fresh rosemary or thyme in each mug.

Keep It Warm: Take advantage of the slow cooker’s ‘Warm’ setting to keep the mulled cider at the perfect temperature throughout your gathering, inviting guests to help themselves.

A bowl filled with cranberries, apples and limes, perfect for making the Best Mulled Cider Ever!

FAQs

What type of cider is best for mulled cider?

For the best flavor, use fresh, high-quality apple cider that’s free from added sugars and artificial flavors. The natural sweetness and apple flavor of the cider are key components of a good mulled cider.

Can I use ground spices instead of whole spices?

While whole spices are preferred for their ability to infuse flavor without making the cider gritty, you can use ground spices in a pinch. Consider wrapping them in a cheesecloth or using a tea infuser to avoid sediment in your cider.

Can I make mulled cider ahead of time?

Yes, you can make mulled cider ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator once cooled. Reheat it in the slow cooker, on the stove, or in the microwave when ready to serve.

Is it possible to over-spice mulled cider?

Yes, it’s possible to over-spice mulled cider, which can lead to overpowering flavors. Start with a moderate amount of spices, and taste as you go. You can always add more, but you can’t take them out once they’ve been added.

How can I sweeten my mulled cider if it’s not sweet enough?

If your mulled cider isn’t as sweet as you’d like, you can add brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup to taste. Add sweeteners gradually, stirring and tasting as you go to achieve the desired sweetness.

What’s the best way to serve mulled cider?

Serve mulled cider hot, directly from the slow cooker into mugs. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, an orange slice, or a sprig of fresh rosemary for a festive touch.

How should I store leftover mulled cider?

Cool any leftover mulled cider and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave when ready to enjoy again.

What to Enjoy with Mulled Cider

Spiced Cookies: Ginger snaps, cinnamon cookies, or any spiced biscuit complements the warm spices in the cider. Also try my favorite chewy molasses cookies!

Savory Pies: A slice of savory pie, like chicken pot pie or shepherd’s pie, offers a hearty contrast to the sweet and spiced notes of the cider.

Roasted Nuts: Almonds, pecans, or walnuts, especially when lightly salted or spiced, add a crunchy texture and rich flavor.

Cheese Board: A selection of cheeses, particularly sharp cheddar, gouda, or brie, pairs beautifully with the sweet and tangy profile of the cider.

Grilled Sausages: The smokiness and savory flavors of grilled sausages make them a perfect match for the fruity and spiced cider.

Pumpkin Pie: The creamy and spiced characteristics of pumpkin pie harmonize with the warm spices in mulled cider. Try this spicy bourbon pumpkin pie recipe!

Roasted Chestnuts: Their sweet, nutty flavor and soft texture blend seamlessly with the cozy warmth of the cider.

Apple Pie or Tarts: Apple-based desserts naturally complement the cider, echoing its fruity notes.

Dark Chocolate: A few pieces of dark chocolate can offer a delightful contrast to the sweet and spiced cider, enhancing both flavors.

Stuffed Dates: Dates stuffed with cheese or nuts add a sweet and savory element that pairs well with the cider’s complexity.

Try these other drinks next:

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The Best Mulled Cider Ever.
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The Best Mulled Cider Ever

The Best Mulled Cider Ever is delicious, easy to make in a slow cooker, and full of festive flavor! Perfect for Christmas party drinks – non-alcoholic and spiked versions included.
Course Mulled Cider
Cuisine American
Keyword apple cider, christmas, cider, hot drinks, mulling spice
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 15
Calories 127kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 1 apple sliced
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 1 lime sliced
  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 4 cups apple juice or cider
  • 2 cups white grape juice or 1 bottle white wine for boozy version
  • 1 cup elderflower cordial or saint germain for a boozy version
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 2 tbsp mulling spices

Instructions

  • In a large crockpot, add ingredients and simmer on low for 2 hours.
  • When serving, remove citrus and cranberries from crockpot after 3 hours, or it will become very tart and bitter.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 127kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 9mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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