You can drink this warming mulled apple cider as-is, or spice it up with some boozy additions!
I submit that nothing makes the house smell as good as a pot of mulled apple cider on the stove. The sweet smell of apples plus ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla just has this calming effect on me. There’s a reason that realtors bake cinnamon apples just before an open house, I guess.
The plan for this mulled apple cider is to serve it at Christmas. We do kind of a low-key Christmas supper at our house most years. I cook up a Tofurkey or Celebration Roast, some sides, and a double batch of my father-in-law’s favorite cranberry sauce. Dave’s parents come over, and this year I think that Darrol Henry’s great grandpa, Darrol Fry is also going to be here! Great Grandpa Fry moved to Atlanta from Mississippi just about a month ago, and it’s wonderful having more family in town. Since this will be his first Christmas supper with us, I want it to be a little bit more special.
The plan was to come up with a special drink that could be boozy but didn’t have to be boozy, so everyone could have some. Mulled apple cider felt like a natural fit. Everyone loves a warm mug of sweet, spiced, apple-y goodness, right? Right!
The recipe below includes links to Barnivore searches for orange liqueur and white whiskey. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a vegan one at the store – there are lots to choose from! I used Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash #1 and Cointreau, if you want to follow what I did to the letter.
Mulled Apple Cider
You can make this mulled apple cider up to two days ahead. Once it’s cooled, just transfer to a large glass pitcher. On the day that you’re going to serve, pour it into a pot, and heat it up again.
Yield: 4-6 servings, depending on your mug size and whether you add booze. About 3 1/2 cups of mulled apple cider.
- 4 cups unfiltered apple juice or apple cider
- 2″ piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 2 cinnamon sticks (plus extra for the mugs, if you like)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla glycerite
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (optional, but recommended, especially if you’re adding booze. You can halve the amount of sugar to 2 tablespoons, if you prefer.)
- 1 apple, sliced, for garnish (optional)
- 3 ounces vegan orange liqueur, divided (optional, approximate)
- 6 ounces vegan white whiskey, divided (optional, approximate)
- In a sauce pot or Dutch oven, combine the apple juice, ginger, cinnamon sticks, vanilla, cloves, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Remove the ginger, cinnamon, and fish out as many of the cloves as you can. This is the point where you would store it away, if you’re not planning to serve it right now.
- For a non-spiked version, just ladle your hot, mulled apple cider into mugs and serve. Serve with a cinnamon stick and apple slices.
- For a spiked version, pour 1/2 ounce of the orange liqueur and 1 ounce of the white whiskey into a mug, then top off with the cider. Serve with a cinnamon stick and apple slices.