Spiced Cider

This spiced cider recipe is pretty easy to make and pretty easy to drink. A short spell to infuse the cider with aromatic spices, followed by a couple of glugs of bourbon, and you’ll be warmed from the inside out.

Spiced cider with a cinnamon stick and orange zest, in a stemless wine glass.

Adapted from John CurrencePickles, Pigs, and Whiskey Ⅰ Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013

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. As soon as you take your first sip of this cider, you might decide 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.–John Currence

Spiced Cider FAQs

How can I keep spiced cider warm?

Depending on the amount you’ve made, you have a few options. A thermos or insulated carafe is good for a few servings. If you’re at home and want to maker a larger amount, you can keep the spiced cider (without the alcohol) in a large pot on a low-temperature burner or slow cooker. Add the alcohol as you serve the cider.

How do I make the cider in advance?

You can make the recipe, without the alcohol, in advance then reheat the cider and add the bourbon as you serve the drinks. The premade cider will last up to two days in the fridge, making it great for pre-planned winter activities.

Spiced Cider

Spiced cider with a cinnamon stick and orange zest, in a stemless wine glass.
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 butt. Believe me.
John Currence

Prep 5 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 20 mins
8 to 10 servings
196 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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  • 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)


  • 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.
  • Strain the spiced cider into a coffee pot 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.
Print RecipeBuy the Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 196kcal (10%)Carbohydrates: 14g (5%)Protein: 0.2gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.05gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gTrans Fat: 0.001gSodium: 7mgPotassium: 129mg (4%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 11g (12%)Vitamin A: 4IUVitamin C: 2mg (2%)Calcium: 18mg (2%)Iron: 0.3mg (2%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I found this spiced cider to be quite an 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 cider, I strained it through 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.

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. We love the addition of orange, lemon zest, and allspice. This tastes so much better than store-bought cider!

Originally published October 2, 2014


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  1. 5 stars
    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?

    1. 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…

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