A warming mocktail of spiced mulled apple juice to enjoy over the cooler months.
This is a non-alcoholic alternative to mulled wine. Flavour apple juice with citrus and spice and heat until fragrant, to create a warm spiced apple juice. A delicious and warming drink.
This mulled apple juice recipe can be made on the stove top in under 30 minutes, or for a hands-off approach, make it in the slow cooker. It is alcohol-free so everyone (and all ages) can enjoy it. If you do want a boozy option, you can add in a swig of liquor such as brandy or whisky at the end to make an alcoholic mulled apple juice.
🍎 What is mulled apple juice?
Mulled apple juice is known as mulled cider in the US. Their cider is pressed apple juice with no alcohol.
However, in NZ and some other countries, our apple cider contains alcohol. In the US, cider with alcohol is called ‘hard cider.’ This recipe is using non-alcoholic cider.
✅ Health benefits
Apples are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients. Preliminary studies show that apples support healthy brain function too. The most healthy compounds are found in the apple peel, though some are retained in the apple juice, especially homemade apple juice made from organic or spray-free apples, or organic pressed apple juices.
Unsweetened apple juice, without added refined sugars, is best, however it should still be consumed in moderation. Apple juice is high in fructose and low in fibre.
Spice & Citrus Benefits
Cinnamon – It’s anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants. It can help reduce blood pressure and improve gut health.
Cloves – contains antioxidants that help your body fight free radicals. Contains antibacterial properties.
Nutmeg – Contains antibacterial properties, can relieve pain, and increase cognitive function.
Citrus – Rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Use organic or spray-free citrus if you can since this recipe uses citrus peel.
⏲️ Cooking time
The mulled apple juice is heated slowly over low heat for a minimum of 20 minutes.
- a large saucepan to heat the apple juice
- a juicer or an apple press if you’re making homemade apple juice.
- A vegetable peeler is helpful too, to remove the lemon and orange peel needed in this recipe.
This recipe is simple and uses apple juice, orange, lemon, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. However, for a more flavourful mulled cider you can also add:
- black peppercorns
- all spice
📖 Step by step instructions
Step 1 – If Using Homemade Apple Juice
3 kg (6.6 pounds) of apples makes approximately 1.5litres of apple juice which is what is used in this recipe.
If you’ve made fresh juice with a juicer before, you know that there is a lot of foam that accumulates on the top. Let the juice sit for 5 minutes so the foam splits from the juice, then use a spoon to scoop it off. Then pour the remaining juice through a cheesecloth to capture the remaining foam.
Step 2 – Citrus
Steep the peel of a lemon and orange in the hot apple juice along with the juice of an orange. This citrus helps bring out all the spice flavours.
I use a vegetable peeler to thinly peel the skin off the citrus, taking off as little of the pith as possible (the pith is the white underneath the citrus skin. This can be quite bitter.)
Step 3 – Warming the Spiced Apple Juice
Combine the spices, orange juice, orange and lemon peel and apple juice in a large pot. Place the pot over low heat and gently heat the apple juice.
Letting it heat slowly will allow the flavours to slowly infuse, for around 20 minutes at least. After warming, taste it to check for sweetness. If you prefer a sweeter drink, add in some honey or maple syrup to taste.
The longer it is heated the more time the flavours have to infuse. Keep the heat low and avoid letting it come to a boil. If it boils the liquid will start evaporating too quickly.
👪 Serving size
This recipe makes six servings of mulled apple cider.
💡 Optional ideas
The spiced juice can be tweaked to suit your tastes with extra spices or citrus or the addition of sweetener and liquors.
Honey or maple syrup can be added to the spiced cider if you like a sweeter drink or are using tart apples for the juice.
If you’re wanting to make this mulled apple cider alcoholic, at the end of the warming you can add in a swig of liquor for a boozy kick. You could use either –
Slow Cooker Mulled Apple Juice
This mocktail can be made in a slow cooker or crockpot for a hands-off approach. Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker or crockpot and put on low for around 1 hour until hot. Keep the mulled apple juice on the ‘keep warm’ setting to keep it hot while serving.
♨️ Serving and storing
Strain the mulled apple juice and serve it while hot, in mugs or thick-walled glasses. Orange slices or apple slices around the edge of the glass add a pretty garnish.
To store the mulled cider, let it cool completely. Pour it into an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 5 days. It can be reheated on the stove on low heat, or in a slow cooker on ‘Low’ until warmed through.
📋 Related recipes
For a more traditional mulled wine recipe, check out this simple mulled wine.
Got more apples to use? Here are some other apple recipes to try!
- 1.5L unsweetened apple juice
- Juice of 1 orange
- Peel of 1 orange
- Peel of 1 lemon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 8 whole cloves
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- Honey or maple syrup to sweeten
- In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients. On low-medium heat, heat the juice until steaming, stirring occasionally while the flavours infuse. Heat it for around 20 minutes, keeping it under a simmer.
- Strain the hot mulled apple juice into a serving jug and pour into glasses or mugs.
Slow Cooker Method
- Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker or crockpot and put on low for around 1 hour until hot. The mulled apple juice can be kept on the 'keep warm' setting to keep it hot while serving.
To store, let it cool completely, then pour it into an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 5 days. It can be reheated on the stove on low heat, or in a slow cooker on 'Low' until warmed through.
*If you're wanting to make this mulled apple cider alcoholic, at the end of the warming you can add in a swig of either, brandy, sherry or whisky.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 181Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 36mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 2gSugar: 37gProtein: 1g