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Hot Spiced Apple Cider

2 mugs filled with apple cider and a cinnamon stick in each cup
Photograph by Isa Zapata, Food Styling by Mieko Takahashi
  • Active Time

    5 minutes

  • Total Time

    1 hour 5 minutes

Picture it: peak fall. You’re enjoying apples every way you possibly can: as apple butter on toast, peanut butter scooped with apple slices for a midday snack, a piece of classic American apple pie at dessert. And at night, when the winds blow, you warm yourself by making this hot apple cider recipe, which doubles as aromatherapy. 

To intensify the flavor of fresh apple cider, Sean Rembold of Ingas Bar in Brooklyn recommends reducing store-bought cider on the stovetop. Doing so concentrates the cider’s sweetness, meaning there’s no need for maple syrup or brown sugar, which could mask the fruity apple flavor. His easy recipe includes a handful of mulling spices and a whole vanilla bean; warmed slowly in the cider, they infuse into the drink and perfume the air (fair warning: it’ll make your house smell incredible). If you’d rather skip the pricey vanilla bean, swap in 1 Tbsp. of vanilla extract, but add it after straining the mulled cider.

When ready to serve, pour the hot cider through a fine mesh strainer, then divide among mugs. The nonalcoholic cider is lovely, but feel free to pour in a tipple for a little extra warmth. Garnish with an orange slice, a few cranberries, a star anise pod, or a fresh cinnamon stick. Or, if you’re serving this at a party, keep the strained cider warm in a slow cooker turned to its lowest setting (make it a warm-drinks buffet with a crock of hot chocolate too) and set out mugs and garnishes for guests.


12 Servings


gallon apple cider, preferably fresh (the darker the better)


Tbsp. allspice berries


tsp. freshly grated nutmeg


whole cloves


3" cinnamon sticks


vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Brandy, Calvados, bourbon, or spiced rum (optional)


  1. Instructions

    Step 1

    Combine 1 gallon apple cider, 1 Tbsp. allspice berries, 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, 4 whole cloves, and three 3" cinnamon sticks in a large pot. Scrape the seeds from 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, and add to pot along with the scraped pod. Bring cider just to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce to medium-low heat and cook just below a simmer until flavors meld and cider has reduced slightly, about 1 hour.

    Step 2

    Strain spiced apple cider through a sieve into another pot or heatproof punch bowl; discard solids in sieve. Ladle hot apple cider into mugs. Top with brandy, Calvados, bourbon, or spiced rum to taste if using. 

    Editor’s note: This recipe was first printed in our October 2012 issue. Head this way for more of our favorite apple recipes

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  • I was really excited about making this. I'm sorry to say that I'm a bit disappointed. It's not nearly "spiced" enough. When I compare it to the Organic Spiced Apple Cider I've been buying from our natural market, it doesn't hold a candle to the flavor and taste of the spiced apple cider from a local maker. Given this is a recipe from Bon Appetit, I had high hopes.

    • Suzanne Reese

    • San Diego, CA

    • 11/26/2020