This post may contain affiliate links which help support Girls Can Grill.

This hot spiked apple cider recipe is the perfect fall cocktail, especially when you make a large batch over an open fire.

Mug of spiked apple cider.

Pin this now to find it later

Pin It

What is spiked cider?

Traditional apple cider is made from unfiltered apple juice and is often enjoyed as a non-alcoholic beverage. To create spiked cider, or hard cider, add alcohol.

When you pick up a jug of apple cider at your local apple orchard or grocery store, it’s usually made with pure apples and no spices.

To add fall flavor, simmer mulling spices, such as cinnamon sticks, allspice berries and cloves in the juice to infuse it with the warmth of whole spices.

The preparation process for spiked cider is simple and can be done in large batches for fall parties or small gatherings on a chilly day.

After heating the apple cider and mulling spices over low heat in a large pot, you’ll add the alcohol to create the spiked version.

I also like to add fresh fruit to enhance the flavor and color.


Spiked apple cider ingredients.
  • Apple Cider: Look for this in the produce section of your grocery store. You may only be able to find it in the fall.
  • Mulling Spices: Mulling spices include a blend of whole spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, star anise, cardamom, nutmeg and sometimes orange peel.
  • Apple: Any fresh apples will work great.
  • Orange: Grab 1-2 fresh oranges or a few tangerines.
  • Cranberries: Fresh cranberries are optional, but they add beautiful color.
  • Whiskey: To be spiked cider, you need to add some sort of alcohol. I enjoy Jack Daniel’s black label whiskey or Apple Jack whiskey. For a non-alcoholic version, leave the whiskey out.
Substitutions: Instead of whiskey, you can also use brandy, dark rum or bourbon.

See the full recipe card below for servings and a full list of ingredients.

How to warm apple cider

Make this easy recipe on any type of grill over indirect heat. I love making a large pot of mulled cider directly over fire on my Barebones Cowboy Grill, so people can gather around the warmth as they sip on the cider.

You can also make this on the stove top over medium-low heat or in a slow cooker.

  1. STEP ONE: Set the large stock pot over indirect heat. Add the apple cider. Place the warming spices in a large tea infuser, and place the infuser in the liquid.
Infuser ball being dropped into pot of cider.
PRO TIP: The infuser prevents the smaller spices like whole cloves from getting into the drink. Whole cinnamon sticks probably won't fit in the infuser. You can add them separately right into the cider.
  1. STEP TWO: Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Pot on grill over fire with fruit and whiskey on shelf.
  1. STEP THREE: After one hour, add the apple slices, orange slices and cranberries. If you’re making spiked cider, add the whiskey. Simmer for 30 more minutes.
fruit in pot of spiked apple cider.

How to serve hot apple cider

Once warmed through, serve your spiked hot apple cider cocktail.

Use a large ladle to scoop the spiked cider and fruit into mugs. Keep the cider over low heat, so people can refill when their cups are empty.

Pot of spiked apple cider over fire.


I recommend saving the original apple cider container. That way, if you have leftover cider, you can pour it right back into the container and store it in the fridge.

Save any leftover spiked fruit separately in an airtight container.

Reheat leftovers in the microwave and serve warm or enjoy a cold glass over ice.

GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips

  • Start with all-natural, fresh apple cider
  • Warm the spices and cider first
  • Add the fruit and alcohol toward the end

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between apple juice and apple cider?

Producers juice apples and remove pulp and solids to make apple juice. Sometimes, they pasteurize it for a longer shelf life. Depending on the brand, they may add sweeteners.

Apple cider is more natural and less processed. It often looks cloudier because it’s unfiltered and includes fresh apple pulp. Look for it at a local farm or orchard or in the produce section during the fall season.

Can I make non-alcoholic versions of spiked apple cider?

Yes. Follow the spiced cider recipe, just leave out the whiskey.

What alcohol goes best in apple cider?

This hot cider recipe uses Jack Daniel’s Whiskey or Apple Jack Whiskey. You can use your favorite whiskey, your favorite bourbon or other dark spirits like spiced rum.

How can I make this in a slow cooker?

For crockpot apple cider, add the store-bought cider and mulling spices to the slow cooker. Set it on low. Let it cook for 3-6 hours. Just before serving, stir in the fresh fruit and alcohol.

More Apple Recipes

Newest Recipes

Want even more great grilling recipes and tips? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok for my latest grilling adventures. If you make a recipe, please leave a comment and rating below.

5 from 1 vote

Hot Spiked Apple Cider Cocktail

This hot spiked apple cider recipe is the perfect fall cocktail, especially when you make a large batch over an open fire.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 20


  • 1 cup mulling spices
  • 1 1/2 gallons apple cider
  • 1 cup whiskey or bourbon, optional
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, optional garnish


  • Heat Grill: Set your grill up with an indirect heat zone.
  • Secure Spices: Place the spices in a tea infuser. If the cinnamon sticks don't fit, you can leave them loose.
  • Prep: Place a large pot or Dutch oven on the grill over low indirect heat (or on the stove over medium-low heat). Add the cider and infuser with spices.
  • Simmer: Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Add: Add the whiskey and fresh fruit. Simmer for 30 more minutes.
  • Serve: Ladle the warm cider into mugs, adding fruit into each cup.


Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple Whiskey is a great option for this cocktail. 
To make this drink non-alcoholic, simply leave out the whiskey. 
The reason you want to secure the spices in a tea infuser is because you don’t want the smaller spices like cloves to end up in your drink. They are too hard to eat. 


Calories: 199kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.05gSodium: 13mgPotassium: 363mgFiber: 7gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 60IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 145mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to rate it, leave a comment and save it so you can make it again. Show off your awesome results on social by tagging @girlscangrill

You May Also Like

christie vanover standing against wood wall.

Hey BBQ Family

I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and top 10 category finishes. I’m an expert grill reviewer for BBQ Guys, and I have appeared on the Food Network and Ninja Woodfire Grill infomercials. I established this website in 2015 to share my BBQ tips and recipes.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating