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homemade mulled apple cider

Homemade Mulled Apple Cider

Serves: 4

Hands On Time: 

Total Time: 


1 orange
1 lemon
8 cups water
1 pound apples, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon whole allspice berries or 1 teaspoon ground
2 teaspoons roughly chopped crystallized ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom pods or 1/2 teaspoon ground
1 whole cinnamon stick, plus more for serving
5 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 star anise, plus more for serving
Sugar, to taste


Use a vegetable peeler to remove strips of peel from one half of the orange and place in a large pot. Use the peeler to remove strips of peel from the entire lemon and place in the pot.

Add the water, apples, allspice, ginger, peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and star anise.

Place the pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the apples are very soft and the liquid is fully flavored, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a second pot. Discard solids. Taste the cider; if you’d like it to be more fully flavored, return it to the heat and continue to cook at a rapid simmer until concentrated to your desired flavor.

Place the strained cider over low heat to keep warm. Taste, and add sugar as desired. (Depending on the sweetness of the apples, you may not need to add any sugar; see note.)

Serve hot, garnished with additional cinnamon sticks and/or star anise.

Photo Credit: Ramona King

About the recipe

This recipe comes courtesy of Southern Kitchen reader Mounir Echariti, who won our holiday drinks recipe contest. If you’d like to turn this winning mulled cider into a cocktail, stir in 4 ounces of bourbon just before serving. You’ll likely need to add some additional sugar if you use the bourbon.