With fresh apple cider readily available, you won’t want to miss whipping up a batch of Slow Cooker Mulled Apple Cider. Whole spices, fruit and cider simmer to make a comforting hot drink to fight the chill of winter.
Winter’s chill has set in for us. The wind is screaming outside as I am writing this. One of my weather apps just blared on my iPhone that a severe weather alert is in effect from rush hour today until tomorrow. Bring it on, I say! If it’s freezing outside we might as well have some snow to make it pretty. I’m celebrating with a steaming hot batch of Slow Cooker Mulled Apple Cider!
Hot Mulled Wine is winter tradition originating in Northern Europe. Red wine is heated and combined with aromatic spices to make a cozy beverage to sip fireside in the winter. I shared a recipe for a Scandinavian version of mulled wine called Glogg in the early days of Boulder Locavore. It’s delicious and the spices can be combined (dry) with a bottle of wine and the recipe as a great hostess gift!
For youngsters and those preferring not to drink alcohol, slow cooker mulled apple cider is a great alternative! Anything taking advantage of the fix-it-and-forget-it ease of the slow cooker is my speed this time of year too. I love the availability of fresh apple cider at this time of year. If you aren’t sure about the difference between apple juice and apple cider, apple cider is unfiltered (which is why it has a cloudy appearance). Personally I love the more rustic quality of the apple particles that swirl around as you drink it. It has a naturally sweet flavor as well making it easy to build on for this delicious slow cooker mulled apple cider recipe.
There is nothing better than coming inside after a chilly outing to pick up a Christmas tree, decorating the house outside with lights or some holiday shopping, to be greeted with a house smelling of spiced cider! I really think it is the homiest smell ever. It’s great to make up a batch before going out to do some Christmas caroling too (does anyone do that anymore?) so it’s piping hot when you return home.
This recipe uses whole spices for a few reasons. Whole spices are easier to strain out before serving. Also ground spices can create a undesirable gritty texture to hot drinks in my opinion. If you don’t want to deal with straining the cider, the allspice berries, cloves and cardamom pods can be wrapped in a sachet made of cheesecloth, tossed into the cider and then easily removed once the cider is done simmering. Personally, I love the look of clove-studded fruit and find adding the cloves to the rind of the orange slices to be both pretty as well as it keeps them out of the way of scooping into a mug!
I love making hot drinks in the winter using the slow cooker. Slow Cooker Hot Buttered Rum is another favorite. It is made adding the alcohol in serving cups so those wishing the warm, buttery drink booze-less can enjoy it too ‘as is’ from the slow cooker. A dash of rum extract can also be added for the warming flavor of rum and no alcohol.
Slow Cooker Mulled Apple Cider
- 1 gallon Apple Cider
- 1 large Orange , cut into ½ inch slices
- Peel from 1 medium Lemon (use a vegetable slicer or paring knife and avoid the pith)
- 2 teaspoons Whole Cloves
- 2 teaspoons Allspice Berries
- 1 inch fresh Ginger Root , thinly sliced
- 6 Cardamom Pods
- ¼ cup Brown Sugar
- 3 Cinnamon Sticks
- In a large (6 quart or larger) slow cooker add all the ingredients and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours. Spices can be strained before serving by using a sieve.
- Tip: to add the cloves to the rind of the orange slices, make small holes with the sharp end of a bamboo skewer first, then the cloves will insert easily and not break in the process.