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Spiced Apple Cider | My Baking Addiction

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Heat up a batch of spiced apple cider to serve this holiday season. Whether you spike it with bourbon, add a dollop of whipped cream, or enjoy it as-is, this is a drink that will warm you from the inside out.

Close up of glass mug filled with spiced apple cider. The cider is topped with whipped cream and dusted with ground cinnamon.

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Want to know a really simple way to impress guests at any gathering?

Make your own drinks!

I don’t necessarily mean making something like a signature cocktail. Even making a non-alcoholic drink for everyone to enjoy is always a hit.

In the summer, I like whipping up a batch of homemade strawberry lemonade or watermelon lemonade.

This time of year, warm drinks are more appropriate, so I turn to making batches of instant pot hot chocolate or this spiced apple cider.

These drinks are perfect for serving all ages. The kids will love them and adults can add a splash of their favorite alcohol if they want!

And you can let the compliments roll in without telling anyone how easy all of it was to put together.

45-degree overhead view of a glass mug of spiced apple cider, topped with whipped cream and garnished with a cinnamon stick.

WHAT IS SPICED APPLE CIDER

If you’ve never had spiced apple cider before, you’re in for a real treat.

Spiced apple cider is apple cider that has been flavored with warm spices, typically those that you might find in apple pie spice.

Spiced cider is usually served warm, sometimes topped with whipped cream or served with a cinnamon stick.

Spiced apple cider ingredients arranged on a light countertop.

HOW TO MAKE SPICED APPLE CIDER

Are you ready for a mug of pure comfort? Then let’s get into how to make this spiced cider!

Spiced cider vs wassail

My spiced apple cider is similar to my wassail recipe, but has a couple of key differences.

Both recipes have cinnamon, nutmeg, and a bit of ginger. But the wassail is also flavored with orange, cloves and allspice and is sweetened with simple syrup to taste.

My spiced apple cider, on the other hand, is flavored with cardamom and vanilla and does not have any added sweetener (although you could add some if you like).

Wassail tends to be more common around Christmas, while spiced cider is often more popular in the fall, but they are both totally delicious and would be perfect for any fall or holiday gathering!

Split vanilla bean next to a paring knife on a wooden cutting board.

Ingredients you’ll need

This recipe has just a small handful of ingredients to pack a flavorful punch.

You will need:

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 vanilla bean

If you don’t have a vanilla bean on hand, you can use 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste instead. If using the vanilla bean paste, wait to add it until the very end, after straining out the other spices.

This recipe makes 4 1-cup servings, but you can easily increase the batch to serve a larger group!

Simmering spiced apple cider in a saucepan on a burner.

Making this recipe

Grab a medium saucepan and set it over medium heat. Add the apple cider, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and nutmeg.

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with the tip of a sharp paring knife. Use the back of the knife to scrape out the seeds. Add the bean pod and the seeds to the cider.

Bring the cider to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low. Let the cider simmer for at least 15 minutes, although you can let it go for as long as you like.

When ready to serve, strain the cider through a fine mesh sieve to remove the vanilla bean solids and the cinnamon sticks.

Strained spiced apple cider in a glass measuring cup, with the strainer filled with cinnamon sticks set on top.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

This spiced apple cider is delicious straight from the pot, but there are other ways to dress it up, too!

Try topping it with a dollop of homemade whipped cream and sprinkling on some ground cinnamon or apple pie spice.

For a boozy twist, put out some alcohol for guests to add to their glasses! Some of our favorites are:

Two glass mugs filled with spiced apple cider and garnished with whipped cream and cinnamon sticks.

MAKE-AHEAD AND REHEATING

If you’re planning on serving this spiced cider for a party, try making it ahead of time. You have a couple of options.

The first is to make the cider as written. Strain it, pour it into airtight containers, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Mug of spiced apple cider on a wooden board. Two more mugs of cider are visible in the background.

When you’re ready to serve, reheat it in a saucepan.

You can also prepare this cider in your slow cooker for a more hands-off approach.

Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker and simmer it on low for 1-2 hours. Strain, then return the cider to the slow cooker on the warm setting to keep it warm during a party.

No matter how you serve this spiced apple cider, it is a cozy drink that will keep you warm all winter long!

Mug of spiced apple cider with a sip taken out of it.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 vanilla bean

Optional, for serving:

Instructions

Place apple cider, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and nutmeg in a medium size saucepan set over medium heat. Split vanilla bean lengthwise with the tip of a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds using the back of the knife. Add bean pod and seeds to the pan. Bring cider to a simmer and reduce heat to low, allowing the cider to cook for about 15 minutes.

Strain cider through a fine mesh sieve to remove cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean solids. 

Divide cider among four heat-proof mugs and stir 1 ounce of bourbon into each glass (if using). Top with whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon or apple pie spice. Serve warm.

Notes

This recipe can easily be increased to serve larger groups.

If you do not have a vanilla bean, substitute with 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste, adding the extract or paste at the end of cooking, just before serving.

You can also warm the cider in a slow cooker on low for 1-2 hours. Leave in the slow cooker set to the warm setting to keep the cider warm for a party.

You can strain the full batch of cider or use a small mesh strainer over the mugs to strain each cup as you serve it.

Nutrition Information

Yield 4

Serving Size 1 cup

Amount Per Serving

Calories 223Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 1mgSodium 73mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 2gSugar 29gProtein 1g


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