There are a few flavors that undoubtedly belong to fall. Pumpkin is spiced and put into every sweet treat imaginable, especially beverages. But perhaps no drink is quite as established during the fall as hot cider. It’s light and flavorful, but can be spiced up (or spiked) for any occasion, filling your mug with festive and delicious flavors. Check out these versions, and get ready for an autumn full of flavor.
1. Mulled Apple Cider
When it comes to classic mulled cider, it doesn’t get better than this version from The Pioneer Woman. Ground cloves, cinnamon sticks, and allspice berries get thrown into a pot to spice up the cider, along with maple syrup for a hint of natural sweetness and fresh-squeezed apple juice. (Although using store-bought cider works well, too.) Orange and lemon peels add the perfect citrus tones to the drink, which you’ll simmer on the stovetop to blend all the flavors. Basically, it’s fall in a cup. The drink is delicious on its own, but you can add a splash of rum for an adults-only gathering, too.
- 4 whole cinnamon sticks
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 8 whole allspice berries
- Orange peel from 1 orange
- Lemon peel from 1 lemon
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 6 cups unfiltered (fresh squeezed is great) apple juice
- ½ cup dark rum (optional)
Head to The Pioneer Woman for the full recipe.
2. Apple Cider Hot Toddy
Apple Cider serves as the sweetener in this warm drink. The blogger behind Cookie and Kate provides this recipe, and notes high-quality ingredients will take this warm cocktail up a notch. Using unfiltered apple cider is your best bet here, along with your favorite black or green tea. The whiskey gives this drink its kick and a splash of lemon balances out the flavors. There’s also an adaptation for a cool cocktail that mimics the same flavors if it’s still toasty where you live.
- 1 green tea or black tea bag
- 1½ ounces rye whiskey or bourbon
- 1 ounce real apple cider
- ½ small lemon
- Lemon wheel
- Cinnamon stick
- Whole star anise
Head to Cookie and Kate for the full recipe.
3. Hot Buttered Bourbon and Cider
Hot buttered rum is a popular base for warm cocktails in the winter — and rum will have its chance in the spotlight in a minute. But this buttered bourbon recipe from Epicurious promises to be velvety smooth, melt-on-your-tongue delicious. The bourbon, brown sugar, spices, and butter will combine to layer your cider with the smoothest of flavors, making it the perfect cure for any cold weather blues.
- 2 cups apple cider
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
- ¾ cup bourbon
- 2½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Ground nutmeg
Head to Epicurious for the full recipe.
4. Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider
If you’ve had enough butter in your desserts, this lighter cider drink promises to be refreshing, and perhaps even healthy for you and your family. The recipe calls for unsweetened apple, orange, and cranberry juices, which you’ll make delicious by adding spices and your natural sweetener of choice. This drink from The Recipe Rebel is definitely healthier than some alternatives, but has all the flavors of the season you want. Plus, it’s made in a slow cooker, which means you can start this drink ahead of time and have it simmering away for your entire party.
- 1 liter apple juice, pure unsweetened
- 2 cups orange juice, pure unsweetened
- 1 liter cranberry juice, unsweetened
- ½ cup sugar, stevia, honey or other sweetener (to taste)
- 3 cinnamon sticks, whole
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
Head to The Recipe Rebel for the full recipe.
5. Hot Apple Cider with Rum
For those of you who like to share the fall season with Captain Morgan, this cider variation from Food Network is for you. Apple cider is your base, but you’ll also add a fresh apple studded with cloves to add spice and a hint of fresh flavor. Add the rum just before serving.
- 1 apple
- 2 teaspoons whole cloves
- 1 orange, thinly sliced
- 2 quarts apple cider
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- Pinch grated nutmeg
- 1 cup dark rum
- Cinnamon sticks, garnish
Head to Food Network for the full recipe.
6. Peppery Ginger Cider
You’ve had the cider with cinnamon and star anise a thousand times before. But what about the blend with ginger added for an extra kick? Serious Eats put together this recipe with ginger liqueur and cracked black pepper for a sophisticated flavor. It’s unlike any other cider you’ve had, and will keep your palate interested when one too many cinnamon sticks have found their way to your mug.
- 8 ounces apple cider
- 4 ounces bourbon
- 3 ounces ginger liqueur, such as Domaine de Canton
- Lemon juice to taste
- 4 Luxardo cherries
- Cracked black pepper
Head to Serious Eats for the full recipe.
7. Hot Spiced Cider
Mr. Coffee is good for more than just your early morning brew. This recipe is typical of most cider drinks, but it’s brewing method is a bit unique — and it’s perfect for the college student or the person who just hates making their cookware dirty more than necessary. This version from Allrecipes.com has you brew the cider mixture in your coffee pot, putting the spices in the filter and the cider where the water typically goes. All you need to do afterward is run your coffee pot through the standard cleaning cycle, and you’re set.
- 2 quarts (8 cups) apple cider
Head to Allrecipes.com for the full recipe.
8. Warm Vanilla Cider
With whipped cream and honeyed walnuts, you’ve got your dessert in beverage form with this cider recipe from Martha Stewart. The whole vanilla bean adds the sweetness you crave in warm fall drinks. The recipe calls for bourbon, although you can omit that if you’re serving children as well. You’ll top the cider with honeyed walnuts that are simple to make — likely with enough left over to munch on as you sip away.
- 6 cups fresh apple cider
- 2 tablespoons packed dark-brown sugar
- 2 whole nutmeg seeds
- 1 vanilla bean (split and scraped)
- 6 ounces (¾ cup) bourbon, if desired
- Whipped cream
- Honeyed Walnuts
For the walnuts
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Pinch of coarse salt
Head to Martha Stewart’s website for the full recipe.
9. Mulled Wine
This warm drink doesn’t have cider in the name, but it is on the ingredient list as a natural sweetener for the drink, which also uses Merlot and port. If you and your friends prefer the taste of wine to glorified apple juice, go ahead and give this recipe from Bon Appétit a try. The best news is this recipe makes 12 servings, so you’ll have plenty for a party (or some leftovers for yourself). The best part is this drink will carry you straight through the holiday season.
- 20 whole cloves
- 2 tangerines, clementines, or small oranges
- 2 (750-milliliter) bottles Merlot
- 3 cups fresh apple cider
- 8 Lady apples (optional)
- 2 cinnamon sticks plus 8 for garnish (garnish optional)
- 2 green cardamom pods, cracked
- 2 cups tawny Port
Head to Bon Appétit for the full recipe.