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This hot spiked apple cider recipe hits all the cozy notes! Rum or bourbon perfectly complement the cinnamon, cloves, and star anise.

Spiked Apple Cider

There’s nothing better than a warm drink in hand when the weather is chilly. Here’s a classic that’s required for fall, in our opinion: Hot Spiked Apple Cider! There’s something about the combination of sweet cinnamon and cloves with the subtle spicy finish of rum or bourbon that’s absolutely soul warming. The liquor melds seamlessly into the hot cider, making a smooth sip and a cozy finish. This recipe has just the right balance of spices with alcohol: and a side benefit: it makes your kitchen smell like a fall candle.

What’s in this spiked apple cider recipe?

Apple cider is a drink that’s been around for thousands of years, dating back to the Romans in 55 BC! This spiked apple cider recipe is simmered with mulling spices, then combined with bourbon or rum for a tasty finish. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • High-quality apple cider, preferably from your farmers market or local orchard. Look for unfiltered cider, which maintains the best flavor and color. If you’re in a time crunch and want to make your life super easy, you can always buy a pre-spiced apple cider and add rum to that.
  • Whole spices: cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. Make sure to use the whole versions of these spices, not ground, which is key to getting the best flavor. Star anise is the most unique of these spices to the American kitchen: it should be available at most grocery stores or you can buy star anise online.
  • Bourbon or rum: White, aged or dark rum works for the rum. Or use your favorite type of bourbon!
Apple cider spices

How to make spiced apple cider: basic method

Making this hot spiked apple cider recipe is incredibly easy: all you need is time! Here are the basic steps:

  • Toast the spices: Toast the spices for a few minutes on the stovetop. This releases their fragrance (and makes your kitchen smell amazing).
  • Simmer: Add the apple cider and heat until warmed through, about 30 minutes. You can also use a slow cooker or Instant Pot: see below.
  • Filter: You’ll notice that particulate rises to the top of the cider while it’s cooking. Use a fine mesh strainer or sieve to strain it off (or you can pour it through a strainer into another pot).
  • Spike it: Add the rum or bourbon all at once, or add about 2 ounces to each 1 cup serving. Spiking each drink separately lets you serve both non-alcoholic hot cider and spiked cider at the same time!
Spiked Cider

Serving spiked apple cider for a party

Here are a few tips if you plan on serving this warming drink at a party!

  • Double or triple it: You’ll need to use a larger pot to accommodate.
  • Consider Crockpot or Instant Pot: Using a slow cooker to keep the spiked cider warm is great for parties. Head to our Slow Cooker Apple Cider.
  • Spike the drinks individually: When you’re serving a crowd, it’s nice to have the flexibility to spike the cider for each person individually. Then the drink works for both kids and adults.

Use bourbon or rum

What’s the best alcohol to use for a spiked apple cider recipe? Rum or bourbon are the best choices. Any type of rum works: white rum, aged rum, or dark rum (aged or dark will add more flavor complexity with vanilla and oak notes). Any type of bourbon works as well! The rum melds more seamlessly into the flavor of cider, making it our top choice. Bourbon is a close second, and has a slightly more prominent flavor on the finish.

You can also make it as a hot toddy instead! Try Apple Cider Hot Toddy.

Hot Spiked Apple Cider Recipe

More cozy drinks

Outside of this spiked apple cider recipe, there are so many winter drinks and hot cocktails to try! Try these cozy options:

This hot spiked apple cider recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, plant-based, dairy-free, and vegan.

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Spiked Apple Cider

Spiked Apple Cider

  • Author: A Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 drinks 1x


This hot spiked apple cider recipe hits all the cozy notes! Rum or bourbon perfectly complement the cinnamon, cloves, and star anise.


  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup rum (of any kind) or bourbon
  • For the garnish: star anise, cinnamon stick, orange slice


  1. Toast the spices: Add the spices to the bottom of a pot*. Toast over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
  2. Simmer: Turn the heat to low. Pour in the apple cider and bring to below a simmer, just barely bubbling. Set a timer for 30 minutes and reduce to low heat (don’t let it simmer).
  3. Filter: Skim off any particulate that rises to the top of the pot using a fine mesh sieve or strainer (or you can pour it through a strainer into another pot). 
  4. Serve: Pour in the rum or bourbon (or add 2 ounces to each 1 cup serving). Ladle into 8 mugs. If desired, garnish with star anise, cinnamon stick, or an orange slice.


*Or, go to Crockpot Apple Cider for slow cooker or Instant Pot instructions. Make the cider, then add the rum or bourbon before serving. 

  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Spiked apple cider, spiked apple cider recipe, spiked cider, spiked hot apple cider

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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  1. Mmm! I’m going to serve this drink at Thanksgiving dinner this weekend :) What a yummy idea! A nice special treat to warm up with – especially since it snowed for the first time here today!

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