Recipes / Sips & Syrups

Mulled Cranberry Apple Cider

Mulled cranberry apple cider

When it comes to mulled cider, I usually freestyle it depending on what I have in the pantry. Sometimes there’s allspice, sometimes it’s nutmeg… sometimes there’s booze, sometimes it’s virgin. But this version is my all-time favorite mulled cider recipe and I can easily drink an entire pot by myself on a lazy, loungy night at home.

Mulled cranberry apple cider is a comforting sipper on a rainy day by the fire, a crowd-pleaser to stir up and serve at a holiday party, and the perfect cocktail for an après-ski in that mountain cabin you rented for the weekend (you know what I’ll be doing this winter!).

I like to add 3/4 cup bourbon for a little zing, but my husband thinks 1/2 cup is plenty… what does that tell you about us? I’ll just say to add enough bourbon according to how much you’ve had to eat! It’s one of those drinks that sneaks up on you once you’ve had a few cups. (If there’s no bourbon in the house, substitute with your favorite spiced rum or whiskey, or even red wine.)

Mulled Cranberry Apple Cider

Makes 8 to 9 cups


For the Cider
1/2 gallon apple cider
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
2-inch piece ginger, sliced into thin coins
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks, broken apart
5 whole allspice
5 whole cloves
Peel from 1 orange
1/2 to 3/4 cup bourbon (optional)

For Garnishing
Fresh cranberries
Orange slices
Cinnamon sticks


Cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and orange peels


Combine all the cider ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Apple cider, whole cranberries, orange peels, and mulling spices

I like to ladle and serve the cider straight out of the pot, along with some of the stewed cranberries, but you can also strain before serving.

Garnish with fresh cranberries, an orange slice or a cinnamon stick. (I simmer the cider with cassia cinnamon, as it’s stronger and spicier, but garnish with ceylon cinnamon, which is milder, more citrusy, and comes in 5-inch quills.)

Mulled cranberry apple cider with bourbon

Mulled cider with stewed cranberries

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


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