This festive Spiked Apple Cider is a delicious boozy cocktail of apple juice, orange juice and your choice of liquor. You’ll “fall” in love with this spiced cider drink that’s perfectly served hot or cold for Halloween, Thanksgiving and more!
Boozy Hot Apple Cider Recipe
Attention, fellow fall fanatics! I’d like to introduce you to an easy homemade cocktail recipe you’re sure to fall in love with (wink, wink): Spiked Apple Cider! A delicious concoction of spiced apple cider, subtly flavored with orange and caramel and “spiked” with a generous splash of toasty rum. It’s the perfect mulled cider drink to warm your cockles as the weather gets cooler.
Served hot (or on ice!), with or without booze, this is the best apple cider recipe – I just love how you can customize it with different liquor and spices! I make it often as a hot cider drink, enjoyed while wrapped in blankets on a chilly fall evening.
This Boozy Hot Apple Cider is just as sensational scaled up as a holiday cocktail; serve it warm from a crockpot into carved out Jack-O-Lantern apple cups for seasonal get-togethers, from Halloween to Thanksgiving. Boozy mulled cider doesn’t get better than this!
What You’ll Need
I’m a shameless fan of apple cider cocktails, and punch in general! Just a few easy ingredients come together to make something festive and magical. Here’s what you’ll need for this spiked apple cider:
- Apples: If you’re serving the cider in carved out apple cups, you’ll need six good sized apples with their tops cut off.
- Lemon Juice: A spritz of lemon juice to keep the freshly carved apples from browning.
- Apple Cider: Apple cider, a.k.a. Fresh unfiltered apple juice will give your cocktail the best apple flavor! Apple cider is cloudier and a little thicker than regular apple juice from concentrate. Find it in most grocery stores, or pay a visit to a local apple orchard or market in season for the really fresh stuff!
- Orange Juice: No pulp or low pulp is best.
- Caramel Ice Cream Topping: The secret ingredient that adds a touch of indulgence to this hot cider recipe.
- Cinnamon & Allspice: Freshly ground or store-bought pre-ground for that special taste of fall.
- Dark Rum: Or a liquor or liqueur of choice. Dark rum is my favorite for this recipe as it pairs so perfectly with the caramel flavors!
- Cinnamon Sticks: For garnish when serving.
Can I Use Another Kind of Liquor?
Absolutely! Countless liquors – and liqueurs – go wonderfully with this Spiked Apple Cider recipe. Here are some suggestions that will bring out different flavors in the cider:
- Whisky or Bourbon
- Spiced Rum
*For liqueurs, opt for 1/2 oz per serving of cider.
How to Make Spiked Apple Cider
This is one of the easiest recipes for hot apple cider, possibly ever! Here are the steps to make your deliciously boozy hot cider drink for one, or for many:
Combine the Ingredients: Combine apple juice, orange juice, caramel topping, cinnamon, and allspice in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Heat: Give it the occasional stir and when it reaches a boil, remove the pan from the heat. Take a moment and savor the delicious smells of fall coming from the pot!
Spike & Serve: Next stir in the rum, and pour the finished cider into cups or mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and serve!
You can also leave the hot cider in the pot for self-serve, or let it cool and decant it into a jug to store in the fridge.
Tips for Success
- Use Real Apple Cider: Apple cider is the pure, unfiltered juice made from freshly pressed apples. It’s different from regular apple juice in that it’s cloudier and slightly thicker, and not from concentrate!
- Don’t Confuse Your Ciders: Hard ciders and sparkling ciders are completely different products from the fresh apple cider needed for this recipe.
- Experiment with Spices: You can steep whole spices in the cider as it heats. Play around with spices like star anise, clove, vanilla bean, ginger, juniper berries, and rosemary sprigs for different combinations of flavor! You can add the loose spices or place them in a loose leaf tea holder to steep.
Here are some suggestions on how to serve this holiday apple cider cocktail:
Serve from Crock Pot: Combine the ingredients for this hot apple cider in a crock pot and leave the batch on a low/warm setting for serving.
Add Slices of Citrus: Toss some fresh slices of citrus fruits like oranges or tangerines into a large batch of this cider prior to serving, for an extra garnish and boost of those great citrus flavors!
Serve Chilled On Ice: This recipe is just as delicious when served chilled from the fridge! Add your booze to the cider before or after, and serve on the rocks. Likewise, you can serve it as a cold punch at parties.
How to Store Extras
This boozy apple cider keeps super well and can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave or on the stove, or served cold straight from the fridge!
Can I Freeze This?
You can freeze the apple cider mixture before the alcohol is added (otherwise it may turn slushy!). Allow the hot apple cider to cool completely before storing it in a freezer-safe container, and keep it frozen for up to 3-4 months. Simply thaw the cider overnight and add the booze, then serve cold or reheated!
More Cocktails to Try
Try these other easy and delicious fruity cocktails that can be enjoyed throughout the holidays or all year round:
Spiked Apple Cider
- 6 apples for the apple cups
- lemon juice
- 3 cups apple juice
- 1 cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup dark rum
- cinnamon sticks
- Cut off the tops of the apples.
- Using a paring knife, cut out shapes to make jack o’ lantern faces.
- Using a melon baller, scoop out the inside of the apples, leaving at least 1/8-inch of apple flesh on the sides and 1/4-inch on the bottom. If you scoop out more, the apple cider will drain through the jack o’ lantern face.
- Squeeze lemon juice over apples to prevent from browning and set aside.
- Combine apple juice, orange juice, caramel topping, cinnamon, and allspice in a large saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat, stir in the rum, and pour into the apple cups.
- Garnish with cinnamon sticks.
- Serve immediately.