When the holiday season rolls around, and the weather gets cooler, it's time to start warming up with your favorite beverages. While hot cocoa and coffee are standby favorites, why not mix things up with a non-alcoholic mulled apple cider?
This delicious drink will surely bring extra zest to the season, as it's perfect for solo drinking or holiday parties. Plus, it's pretty easy to make in small or large batches, depending on the situation. So, break out your saucepan or slow cooker and let's get mulling!
A Brief History of Mulled Apple Cider
The term "mulled" means to heat, sweeten, and flavor a beverage with spices. Mulled wine is one of the oldest examples of this tradition, but civilizations have been mulling drinks for centuries.
The practice first gained widespread popularity during the Roman era. As armies and legions traveled across Europe and other lands to conquer them, soldiers would mull their wine to make it taste better and so it would last longer on their journeys. It's unknown what the Romans used to mull their wine, but traditional spices include:
- Small Pieces of Dried Fruit
Mulled wine and cider also became popular during the Middle Ages as a way to stay warm during the winter months and to celebrate with family and friends. An early version of mulled cider called "wassail" spread quickly through Germany and England and was often part of local harvest festivals.
Since these festivals usually happened in late fall/early winter, it didn't take long for mulled cider to become part of annual holiday traditions like Christmas in England. Many like to "spike" their cider with alcohol like bourbon, brandy, or rum. Fortunately, modern connoisseurs can use non-alcoholic versions instead.
Today, many of the same ingredients used in mulled cider are almost identical to those brewed in medieval times. So, when raising a glass of this alcohol-free recipe, you're toasting to both flavor and history.
How Hot Mulled Apple Cider Fits Into Your Holiday Plans
A non-alcoholic mulled apple cider is the perfect addition to any holiday party or gathering. Whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just a small get-together with friends, this recipe will surely hit the spot.
Plus, since it's free of alcohol, you don't have to worry about imbibing too much during the festivities. Also, if you or anyone you know observes Sober October or wants to cut alcohol out of their holiday plans, you can accommodate them with this recipe.
Overall, mulled apple cider works perfectly as a way to celebrate with the ones you care about most. Seir Hill can help you get closer to your friends and family by offering Biscane, a tasty rum alternative.
What You'll Need to Make a Non-Alcoholic Mulled Apple Cider
There are two primary ways to mull your apple cider. First, you can use a saucepan. This method is faster and more efficient, but it takes a bit more effort to avoid burning any of the ingredients.
The second option is to use a slow cooker. You need to plan ahead because it takes a few hours to reach the right temperature, but once it's going, you're set for the rest of the day. We like slow-cooker cider because guests can serve themselves, and you don't risk letting the beverage cool down too much.
Here are the tools necessary to make this recipe:
- Saucepan (or Slow Cooker)
- Stirring Spoon
- Serving Ladle
- Punch Bowl (if using the saucepan method)
And the list of ingredients:
- 4 Cups Fresh Apple Cider
- 1 Cup Biscane Rum Alternative
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 2 Star Anise
- 4 Cloves
- 1 Sliced Orange
- 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar (optional)
How to Make an Alcohol-Free Mulled Apple Cider
We'll start with the slow cooker version because it works so well for holiday parties and the like. If you want to use a saucepan, scroll down for that recipe.
Slow Cooker Hot Mulled Apple Cider
Pour your ingredients into a slow cooker and stir thoroughly, so everything gets mixed well. Then, turn the device onto low heat and let it sit for at least 2.5 hours. Once it reaches the right temperature, you can let it stay on until it's empty.
You should also sample some of the hot mulled cider to see if it needs anything to spice it up, like more brown sugar or orange slices. Then, keep the ladle next to the pot so guests can serve themselves.
You'll need a saucepan large and deep enough to hold this much liquid. Pour all your ingredients into the pan and put it on medium-high heat. Wait until the liquid starts to bubble, but don't let it get to a rolling boil.
Once your cider is bubbling softly, reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 30 minutes. Taste the mixture to see if it needs additional ingredients, and pour servings into mugs or other heat-resistant containers.
Mulled Apple Cider Alternatives
One of the great things about hot mulled apple cider is that it's super customizable, so you can easily make it your own. Here are some of our favorite ways to make this delicious beverage:
- Add Fresh Apples - You can either use sliced apples to leach flavor into the drink, or you can dice your apples so that they add some sweet crunchiness when drinking. We recommend using gala, Fuji, or golden delicious apples for the best flavor.
- Add More Citrus - While one orange is tasty, adding a few more can change the nature of the drink. Other options include lemon slices and blood oranges if you want something a bit more exotic. However, make sure the citrus flavors don't overpower the cider altogether.
- Use a Brown Sugar Rim - Traditionally, mulled apple cider is served hot, but you don't need to do that. Instead, you can use martini glasses and create a brown sugar rim. Doing this elevates the cider into something more cosmopolitan, like a cocktail you'd get at a trendy bar.
If you want more non-alcoholic mocktail recipes, check them out on our website here. We also offer a three-pack of our top three spirits, Biscane, Durangold, and Mashville. This pack makes a great gift!