Spiced Cider

Spiced Cider Recipe

[Editor’s Note: This is a story about a spiced cider cocktail and how it came to be.] I’m not sure who the bartender was at City Grocery about 15 years ago who commandeered a Farmer Brothers glass coffeepot and started making the City Grocery Spiced Cider, but I do know I want to kiss him. There is very little on this earth better on a cold night than combining warm apple cider and bourbon with a blend of exotic spices. The smell fills the room, and more than a couple of these will put you on your ass. Believe me.–John Currence

LC Big Batches Of Boozy Spiced Cider Note

Confession: The title “Spiced Cider” isn’t entirely accurate. Given the benevolent amount of bourbon in this toddy, it’d be far more apt to call it “Spiked Spiced Cider” or “Boozy Spiced Cider” or “Pour In A Bottle of Bourbon Spiced Cider.” We didn’t get so tipsy, though, that we forgot how to do basic math, which came in quite handy since as soon as we took our first sip of this spiced cider, we decided to make multiple batches. Should you feel compelled to do the same, rest assured, it takes but the simplest of math skills to double or triple or quadruple the recipe and serve it as a punch. Don’t forget to set out your quirkiest mugs, a miscellany of stemware, or even pint glasses. Should you need to keep big batches of this spiked stuff warm, you’ve got options galore, including a large pot over low heat on the front burner, a slow cooker turned to low, or, for teatime tailgating, thermoses in every shape, size, and shade.

Spiced Cider Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 8 to 10


  • 4 cups apple cider
  • Zest from 1/2 medium orange, preferably organic
  • Zest from 1 lemon, preferably organic
  • 1 stick cinnamon, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 2 cups bourbon
  • Lemon twists, for garnish (optional)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish (optional)


  • 1. Combine the cider, orange and lemon zest, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice berries in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for 7 to 10 minutes.
  • 2. Strain the spiced cider into a coffeepot or other heatproof vessel and discard the solids. Add the bourbon and stir to combine. Serve the spiked spiced cider warm in coffee mugs, pint glasses, or heatproof wine glasses with a cinnamon stick, twist of lemon, and grated nutmeg, if desired.
Thirsty for more? Sip on these:

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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Mike S.

Oct 02, 2014

I found this spiced cider recipe to be a quite excellent drink for a winter day. It warms one from head to toe. If you're intending to drink more than a mugful, or if you're not using a smooth, drinkable bourbon, I'd suggest maybe cutting back the liquor to 1 1/2 cups, as otherwise this spiced cider can pack a punch. After steeping the spiced cider, I strained it though some cheesecloth, which I thought worked very well. On a side note, this also makes a great nonalcoholic spiced cider that you could give to the kids.

Testers Choice
Dawn E.

Oct 02, 2014

I made this spiced apple cider without the bourbon because I was serving this to kids, plus I didn't want to fall on my ass. I subbed more apple cider for the bourbon, and the drink was still warm, delicious, and comforting. I love the addition of orange, lemon zest, and allspice. This tastes so much better than store-bought cider!

  1. Jenn says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe, it looks great!

    Did nobody else notice that the citrus and spice in the picture looks like a goldfish?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Jenn, this spiced cider is so stunning in taste, we were hoping no one would notice that the photograph from the book has a rather unfortunate placement of clove against orange zest! At least we know now that it wasn’t just the bourbon whispering to us…

  2. Just double-checking – apple cider you use here is plain apple juice, not the apple cider with alcohol (“hard apple cider”)?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Correct. Just plain old apple cider—which is just apple juice of sorts that’s not fermented.

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