Hot Spiced Apple Cider

Written by Danny.

I am convinced that Spiced Apple Cider sold our house.  Sure we had a good agent, staged it pretty well, kept it tidy with 2 VERY young kids for almost 2 consecutive months – but the aromas of the cider simmering on the stove on one particular visit made it feel like somewhere you wanted to stay.  And they bought the house.

As you read about in Monday’s post, Aimee had some friends over to our house last Friday for a good cause, and I was doing my utmost to practice what I preach and be of help .  I both wanted to and needed to make something, so that I could more easily convince Aimee to get off her feet and rest.  And so our annual holiday favorite beverage, Spiced Apple Cider was made.

Hot Spiced Apple Cider is a seriously easy thing to make, even for someone who seldom plays with “spices and stuff”, and the best part is that it is relatively fool-proof.  I was told that I shouldn’t have sliced the ginger quite so thin, as it makes that particular ingredient that much more potent.  This is reflected in the recipe below.

As has been discussed before on Simple Bites, the quality of your ingredients will affect how much of them you will need.  I.e. if you really do have fresh ginger, it is going to kick a lot harder than if you use older stuff.

This explains the reference to the cinnamon.  We don’t have the seemingly ubiquitous 3″ dry sticks of cinnamon, but have some seriously crazy gnarly stuff from Mexico. Just one small stick was enough to impart the right flavors.

ALL photos by Angela Chin

If you want to make this hot apple cider a tad more, ahem, ‘festive’, add an ounce of brandy to the cups when you serve it.

Hot Spiced Apple Cider

Fresh apple cider is sometimes called 'cold pressed' or 'fresh pressed' and is an unfiltered, unsweetened pure apple juice. It is unpasteurized, and recognizable by its murky brown colour. Look for it in the refrigerated area of the organics section in your grocery store.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 cups
Calories: 162kcal
Author: Danny Bourque


  • 12 cups fresh pressed apple cider
  • 3/4 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 crazy cinnamon stick
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 1 small chunk fresh ginger (about 2 teaspoons), peeled and sliced in to no more than 3 pieces.
  • 2 stalks lemon grass bruised (or 1 sliced lemon)
  • 1.5 large bay leaf
  • 17 peppercorns no more no less. (yeah right! Seriously, though, I put a large teaspoon of peppercorns in for kick).


  • The lemon grass will most likely not fit in your pot. Chop 1/2" or so off the nub, and 5 to 6" on the other end. Smash it with the flat of a knife or a cast iron pan and then chop it into 3 to 4" lengths.
  • I also manhandled the cinnamon and bay leaves. Other cooks use the words "crushed" or "bruised" for this action.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Place over medium heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the cider has boiled, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Strain and serve hot.


Calories: 162kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin C: 2.2mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 0.7mg


What is your favorite hot beverage to warm up with on cool December days?

About Danny

Danny Bourque is a mechanical engineer who is known at both home and work as either “the geek” or “the numbers guy”. He is very methodical and genuinely loves to analyze almost anything that piques his interest – including food.

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  1. I like the use of the word manhandled. 🙂 Maybe I can use it to convince my hubby that he should make this recipe for us!

  2. You are such a very creative mom…well, i pretty sure that if i make that recipe to my kids;One of there favorite and asking me to do that again and again:D
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Yum! This sounds so tasty 🙂

  4. Hot chocolate. Pretty much all varieties too; homemade, instant, coffee shop… For me, apple cider based drinks are more for fall and early winter before the snow hits. Of course, this could be because I can’t actually buy any fresh apple cider anymore as it’s out of season. I will keep this in mind for next year.

  5. I just happen to have a half gallon of apple cider in the fridge, and it’s a cold and rainy day. Can’t wait to get this going on the stove. Thanks for sharing Danny!

  6. Hi-I think I missed something in the directions. You put a large teaspoon of what in for the kick?

    • Daniel Bourque says

      Peppercorns. I actually started counting them, but stopped at 17, as there were some half-broken ones, and it was getting complicated. Don’t grind them, but put them in whole.

  7. We’re big fans of cider here – including the kids! This would be perfect for a party or really any chilly day/night 🙂

  8. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies says

    5 stars
    I bet you’re right. They always say you should bake cookies when prospective buyers are coming over, but I bet apple cider does the same trick! Looks wonderful, Danny.

  9. Sounds incredible! I love the addition of lemongrass.

  10. Seriously lovely for the holidays, and couldn’t be easier! I’ll definitely be whipping up a batch.

  11. The lemongrass addition is super inspired – now you’ve got me thinking about a tamarind-infused apple cider.

  12. Love, love apple cider! And a friend recently suggested that instead of brandy to add an apple vodka. Says it is awesome, for those who like their cider spirited!

  13. I love the addition of lemongrass in this recipe!

  14. 5 stars
    Brilliant recipe!I love apple cider too and when once I had similar kinda drink in a restaurant I was wondering how to make it.Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe.

  15. 5 stars
    Hi ! We put up a list of the TOP 100 best Christmas recipes for 2015. Your recipe was also included on this list. Go check it out at: Greetings, Veronique and Marco from

  16. 5 stars
    I Love that!! I’m not a drink person but it looks easy to make. Thanks.

  17. Humm Looks delicious

  18. So delicious

  19. Very Good!

  20. Marcelo Gross says

    5 stars
    Sounds incredible! I love the addition of lemongrass. ualll!

  21. Very good! Thanks for sharing!!

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