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