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Mulled Cider

Mulled Cider is delicious fall drink made from a blend of mulling spices and apple cider.  I love to enjoy this warm, with my favorite pumpkin desserts, or with a splash of rum for a yummy adult version.

apple cider in a glass jar

Mulled Cider is one of my favorite fall recipes.  I’m not a big fan of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, so this drink is my “fall in a cup” treat.  Warm, spicy, and tart with beautiful golden hues- it’s perfect to serve at holiday parties or sip on while passing out candy to trick-or-treaters!

two glasses full of apple cider with oranges and spices beside them

What Does Mulled Cider Mean?

Mulled Cider is typically a sweet cider heated with spices and citrus fruits.  Mulled means to heat, sweeten, and flavor (a beverage like cider or wine) with spices.  

You may be familiar with wassail.  Wassail and mulled cider are the same – you can read more about wassail here.

jar of mulling spices next to mulled cider

What’s in Mulled Cider?

I use my favorite mulling spices (a blend of seven spices) to make this mulled cider.  In addition to the mulling spices, you will also need:

  • fresh, unfiltered apple cider 
  • brown sugar (optional)
  • orange slices and cinnamon sticks for garnish

mulling spices loose on a white background

What’s the Difference between apple juice and apple cider?

Fresh cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove solids (like pulp or sediment).  Apple juice is juice that has been filtered to remove any solids and pasteurized so that it will stay fresh longer. 

This isn’t always the case though, sometimes cider means apples that were picked and processed early in the season, and sometimes it’s just a marketing term.

How Do You Make Mulled Cider?

  1. Simmer apple cider with the mulling spices.  Cider can be mulled at a low temperature for a long time or at a simmer for about half an hour, depending on your preference.
  2. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the hot mulled cider away from the spices.  Garnish with slices of apple or orange and whole cinnamon sticks.

overhead view of two classes with orange slices and cinnamon sticks

Does Mulled Cider Have Alcohol?

This is totally up to you!  Rum, brandy, or bourbon are all great options with fruity undertones.  If you want to add alcohol, start with just a tablespoon or so and go from there.  Be careful not to distract from the rich flavors by adding too much.  

Note: in some countries, cider is fermented and does contain alcohol.  Typically in the US, we would refer to this as “hard cider.”

cider in a glass jar with orange slices and cinnamon sticks

Tips for Making the Best Hot Mulled Cider

  • Mulled cider is best enjoyed within three days.  Anything longer than that and things start to get funky.
  • Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator.  It’s fine to reheat again (simmer without bringing to a boil); I would do it one portion at a time or reheat it all and toss the leftovers.  (Meaning, I wouldn’t continue to reheat and return to the fridge.)
  • Occasionally when you heat cider too quickly over too high of heat, you may see some separation.  If this happens, you can just skim anything unwanted that floats to the surface.

More Delicious Fall Drinks

apple cider in a glass jar

Mulled Cider

4.25 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 cups
Calories: 120kcal
Author: Emily Grace


  • Fine Mesh Sieve


  • 2 tbsp Mulling Spices
  • 1/2 gallon Apple Cider fresh, unfiltered
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar optional
  • orange slices for garnish
  • cinnamon sticks for garnish


  • Pour the apple cider into a 3-quart saucepan, cover, turn the heat on medium-high.
  • While the cider is heating, measure out your mulling spices and brown sugar.
  • Add the mulling spices and brown sugar into the sauce pan with the cider.
  • Keep covered and heat the mulled cider mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes on low heat.
  • Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the hot mulled cider away from the spices.
  • Serve hot. Add a cinnamon stick and orange slice to each cup if desired.


Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe? Mention @GraceGoodEats or tag #graceandgoodeats!
4.25 from 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Tuesday 27th of October 2020

I am a complete rookie of a cook. I made this recipe and it turned out great. I did it exactly as instructed. I added half an ounce of dark rum in 8 ounces and it enhanced the taste even further hardly noticeable just a hint of rum.

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