Spiked Apple Cider

A cup of cider wine punch.

This spiked apple cider is warmly spiced and perfect for fall and winter sipping. Whole mulling spices and fresh citrus balance the flavors in the warm apple cider while white wine and rum kick up the tipsy factor. Great for the holidays.

A measuring cup filled with apple cider with other ingredients in the background.

I have no business talking about cold weather or hot punch because I live in South Florida, and rarely do we see temperatures that require a pair of blue jeans, much less warm apple cider…

However, this spiked apple cider can’t be beaten on those rare occasions when the mercury drops. It’s warm and sweet, with two types of booze, nose-tingling spices and enough citrus peel and juice to lend a holiday-inspired tang to this mulled cider recipe.

Why you’ll love it:

  • The mix of apple cider with freshly squeezed mandarin orange juice gives it a fruit punch vibe.
  • The mix of traditional mulling spices gives it a Christmasy feeling and makes the whole house smell festive.
  • White wine and rum spike the mulled cider recipe without being overly boozy.
  • It stays warm in your Dutch oven or crock pot and’s perfect for a holiday party.


  • Apple Cider – Use a fresh, unfiltered apple cider that comes in the refrigerated section
  • White Wine – I look for dry wines like sauvignon blanc or pinot gris. Use a drinkable, but affordable wine.
  • Whole Cinnamon Sticks – a must for any mulling spices recipes, whole cinnamon sticks will season the spiked cider without leaving residue.
  • Allspice Berries – When ground, this tastes like a combination of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon, and in this mulled cider recipe, adds another layer of flavor.
  • Star Anise – This has a distinct licorice flavor, but because the star anise is left whole, it doesn’t overpower the other flavors in the spiked apple cider.
  • Cloves – This can be a very potent spice, which is why we use it sparingly and keep them whole, so you don’t get their full impact.
  • Lemon Zest – the outer skin of the lemon is where the essential oils and most of the flavor lie.
  • Mandarin Zest and Juice – I like the mandarins because they tend to have a tangerine-flavor that’s more intense. You can also use fresh orange zest and juice.
  • Simple Syrup – a combination of sugar and water simmered until the sugar crystals dissolve — this is the standard sweetener for most cocktails.
  • Rum – I recommend a golden or spiced rum in this warm punch recipe. Avoid white rum, as it doesn’t have those caramel notes that golden rum does.
Star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice berries.


  1. Add apple cider, wine, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, and allspice berries to a large pot.
  2. Add the lemon zest, clementine (or orange zest), clementine juice (or orange juice) and simple syrup.
  3. Bring the spiked apple cider just to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover so the lid is slightly askew on the pot and steam can escape.
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the cinnamon stick and star anise and set aside.
  6. Strain the apple cider wine mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the small cloves, allspice berries, and citrus zest. Transfer to a heavy Dutch oven with a lid or a Crock Pot or slow cooker to keep the spiked apple cider warm.
  7. Add the cinnamon sticks and star anise back to the hot rum punch.
  8. Return the cider mixture to a simmer and stir in the rum.

To serve from a Dutch oven, remove it from the stovetop, place the Dutch oven atop a pot holder (to protect your counters and furniture) and keep the lid on. This should keep the mulled apple cider punch hot for an hour. Use a ladle to serve.

To serve from a Crock pot, keep the spiked cider on a low setting and cover the pot with the lid.

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Mulling the whole spices with the cider and citrus zest.


I prefer a Dutch oven for this punch because they’re made of enameled cast iron. Therefore, they hold heat well, even when not on the stove. You can also use a Crock Pot or slow cooker to keep the spiked apple cider warm for an extended period.

I add the rum at the last minute so the alcohol doesn’t burn off. You want to have a little rum flavor in every sip, and the Dutch oven and slow cooker allow for that. It keeps the spiked cider hot without cooking off the spirits. The first mug is as good as the last.

Squeezing mandarins for their juice.


  • Swap the rum for bourbon, whiskey, vodka, or apple brandy in the warm apple cider recipe.
  • Add a slice of fresh ginger for a spicy, aromatic twist.
  • Serve this cocktail recipe in insulated mugs with a “cinnamon stick beverage stirrer”.
  • Float sliced apples in the spiked apple cider for a festive garnish.
Golden rum to spike the apple cider punch.

Double the recipe

If you’re having a larger gathering, this recipe will double easily. Even if there are only four or five people, you might want to make a double batch of this tasty spiked apple cider cocktail. It’s THAT GOOD.


If you have leftovers (and that’s a big if) you can store extra spiked cider in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat by the cupful in the microwave.

Straining the spices and zest from the spiked apple cider.

What our tasters said:

“I like this better than a hot toddy; the citrus flavor really comes through and I’m amazed how the wine works so well with the hot apple cider.” – Vanessa

“I will keep a double batch of this spiked cider drink on my buffet for Thanksgiving for my family. They’re going to love it.” — Cristy

“I’ve never tried a spiked apple cider recipe like this before. Most of them are just very apple-forward, but this hot punch has so much more going on. I love it. — Tess

an insulated cup of warm apple cider with a whole star anise floating in it.

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Enjoying a mug of cider wine punch.
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5 from 6 votes

Spiked Apple Cider

A warm spiced apple cider, wine and rum punch to warm you from the inside out.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword apple cider, rum, wine
Dietary Restrictions Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8


  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1 750ml bottle white wine (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio or other dry white wine)
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole allspice berries
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1 tablespoon mandarin or clementine zest from about 3 mandarins
  • ½ cup mandarin juice from about 6 mandarins
  • ½ cup simple syrup
  • ½ cup golden rum I used Mount Gay


  • Combine the cider, wine, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, anise and cloves in a pot or dutch oven. Add the lemon zest, clementine zest, clementine juice and simple syrup.
  • Heat over medium high heat until the mixture just starts to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and place the lid on the pot so it’s slightly askew. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and star anise and set aside.
  • Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and ladle or pour the grögg mixture through the strainer.
  • Wash and dry the pot that you simmered the Grögg in. Add the cider mixture back to the pot, along with the reserved cinnamon and star anise.
  • Just before serving, warm the Grögg over medium high heat. Remove from heat and stir in the rum. Cover tightly with the lid to keep the punch hot without cooking off the rum.
  • Ladle into cups and garnish with extra cinnamon sticks, star anise and orange peel for a festive feel.


Calories: 146.6kcal | Carbohydrates: 29.14g | Protein: 0.46g | Fat: 0.25g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 16.7mg | Potassium: 152.28mg | Fiber: 0.86g | Sugar: 25.58g | Vitamin A: 31IU | Vitamin C: 16.88mg | Calcium: 20.81mg | Iron: 1.07mg

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  1. Mimi Rippee says:

    5 stars
    This is beautiful. Great recipe. Fingers crossed that fall comes faster.

  2. Andrea Metlika says:

    5 stars
    This is my kind of punch. I love apple cider and you kicked it up! I cannot wait to make this.

  3. 5 stars
    Sounds delicious. Up here in NY we get freezing weather, and I’ll be trying this recipe next time our mercury dips into the 20s! Love the whole allspice addition.

  4. Megan Ellam says:

    5 stars
    Sounds like the perfect party starter for this Christmas. I have never had any kind of hot buttered rum but seeing I follow a keto diet I may as well lol.

  5. 5 stars
    This hot toddy checks several boxes for me… it’s easy, it sounds delicious, got a good little kick, and I bet it makes your house smell just divine!

  6. 5 stars
    This hot punch is simply delicious. And the flavor is perfect for cold winter days, and definitely a must for Christmas. Will be making a huge batch to serve my Christmas guests. 🙂