Mulled bourbon apple cider cocktail recipe

This cocktail is an absolute must during the holidays. There are few activities that are better at bringing family & friends together than getting mulled. Spiked with Grand Marnier & bourbon, and infused with flavors & fragrances that will make one’s house smell like the North Pole. This hot apple cider drink should be available on-demand during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Warm drinks with alcohol have comforted souls for centuries. This combination not only helped people get sloshed but was considered medicinal. Coffee, teas, and wine are renown for their health properties. Many also believed alcohol provided the extra kick to thwart off illness & disease. Feels good knowing that drinking an Irish coffee can be good for one’s systems. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, all-spice and candied ginger also bring other medicinal properties to this cocktail. These spices are believed to combat diabetes, weight loss, blood flow, anti-inflammatory and others.

Growing up, my mom made warm drinks studded with different spices. She believed that mixing the warm drinks with spices improved your health. It was not until college that I was awaken to the notion that my mom’s medicinal drinks would also make perfect cocktail punch for the holidays.

My epiphany was my in college. Holidays in Charlottesville, VA are simply gorgeous and one of my favorite days of the year is the Lighting of the Lawn. Students & faculty gather on the Lawn, drink, listen to musical performances, be merry, and hang-out & party in the different student rooms on the Lawn. It was at this event that one of my degenerate friends spiked the hot apple cider with copious doses of Maker’s Mark bourbon (much to the pleasure of all in attendance) … and it was unbelievable.

Mulled cider brewing from

Recipe for the mulled, spiked apple cider cocktail

I’d highly suggest that you start your own new fun with this fantastic warm cocktail. I’m not a huge eggnog fan, so this is the perfect holiday alternative for me. The variation possibilities are endless for this drink, so feel open to improvise and find the combo of flavors that you like best.

Ingredients (makes about 6 servings):

  • 1/2 gallon of apple cider
  • 2-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg (freshly grated please)
  • Handful of candied ginger
  • Cloves (10-15)
  • All-spice berries (5-10)
  • Little bit of brown sugar
  • Part of an orange peel
  • 1-3 slices of orange
  • Bourbon (any kind you prefer, I like Makers or Woodford)
  • Grand Marnier (optional)

Pour the apple cider into a pot and place on burner over medium heat.

If you want to use a cheesecloth for the spices, by all means do so. If not, you’ll just have to be extra careful when pouring drinks for others not to give them any cloves, all-spice berries, etc.

Place all the other ingredients, except for any alcohol, into the apple cider. Allow it to slowly come up to a boil, letting all those flavors co-mingle and their fragrances to shine out while stirring it on occasion. Make sure to taste test along the way and readjust seasonings as needed. Once at a rolling boil, place the heat on low to keep it at a gentle simmer.

To serve the drink, take a glass and pour 1/2 shot of Grand Marnier and 1-2 shots of bourbon. Give the cider a few healthy stirs and then pour in the mulled cider mixture. Give it another jigger with a spoon and then go ahead, warm up & enjoy.

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