Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Mulled Cider
Slow cooker cranberry apple mulled cider is a cozy drink to enjoy on cool evenings around the fire. It’s also delicious served over ice around the pool. Either way, it’s a tasty drink that’s guaranteed to ring in the holiday cheer.
When it comes to the holidays, I’m a little like Zorba the Greek. The season makes me want to sing “tradition, tradition” ! Of course, with age, we all mellow just a touch.
Nonetheless, I yearn for flavours that remind me of childhood holidays long ago. Whether it’s wassail or mulled cider, warm spiced drinks simply taste like the holidays. Plus, when you live in a place where it’s fall or winter, they warm you up from the inside out.
If you live in the Southern Hemisphere — as I do — you may prefer enjoying mulled cider in the morning when it’s cooler. Or, you can cool it down, ice it, and toss in a shot of spiced rum or bourbon for a classic holiday cocktail.
Either way, the warming flavours of cinnamon, cloves and star anise will have you jamming to Nat King Cole and yearning for roasted chestnuts. The combination of apple, cranberry, and lemon rounds the cider out with a hint of sweet, tart, and rosy cheer.
About This Recipe
This is a very simple recipe. However, I do have a couple of tips, tricks and suggestions for you.
All Cranberry Juice Is Not Created Equal
There are two types of cranberry juice on the market in most countries. You can either purchase a cranberry juice blend, as I have done. Or, you can opt for pure cranberry juice. Pure cranberry juice is delicious, and will give your mulled cider a rich crimson colour. However, it’s a bit tart. So, if you use pure cranberry juice, I suggest, either:
- Reducing the quantity of cranberry to 500 mL (2 cups), and increasing the apple juice or cider accordingly; or
- Using the full Litre of cranberry juice, but tasting and adding maple syrup or sugar to balance, if necessary.
Apple Juice or Apple Cider?
I’ve never found apple cider for sale in Johannesburg (other than the alcoholic sort). So, I’ve used apple juice. However, if you can get cider, please do use it. The flavour is so much richer. Just be careful with the sweetness because, in my experience, apple cider is often sweeter than apple juice. If I were to use cider, I might use a full Litre of pure cranberry juice for balance.
Can I Swap Out the Cranberry Juice?
Of course! Pomegranate juice is a terrific option that’s also very healthy. If you use pomegranate juice, treat it like pure cranberry juice. It’s absolutely delicious!
About the Spices…
Everyone has their favourite combo of mulling spices. I used to get a fantastic blend from my local spice shop. If you have a blend you like, feel free to swap it in. 2 tablespoons or so of mulling spices should be about right. Also, feel free to amp the spices up or down according to your taste.
I’ve added star anise to my spices, because I love the way it smooths out the edges of the cranberry. But, if you prefer to take it out and add a couple of allspice berries instead, please do.
Recipes are templates and I hope you will be as free with mine as I am with just about every recipe I touch. Only you know your family’s preferences and your mood!
Most of all, I hope you and your family enjoy this deliciously easy mulled cider as much as mine does. Bon appétit!