Bourbon Apple Cider

Today I’m sharing how to make stove top spiked bourbon apple cider with warm mulled spices for all of those around the world who don’t have access to cider mills. With just a few minutes of prep time you’ll have delicious cider that will make your whole house smell like a dream. It’s the ultimate aromatherapy. I even included a gorgeous free printable so you can share the recipe with your loved ones if you choose to gift it!

After years being abroad, I have learned some new ways to bring the seasonal delights that I adore home to us no matter where we are in the world. Every three years we head somewhere new, and we have no idea when we will spend another Autumn or Christmas in America. So whether you live within minutes of a cider mill, or all the way in Africa – you can make this homemade naturally sweetened spiced apple cider at home.

Why you’ll love this recipe:

Apple cider is simple to make and requires minimal ingredients, all of which you can locate easily in your local grocery store. It is truly the best fresh apple cider you’ll try this holiday season. Hosts and hostess are always sincerely thankful and impressed when I drop off this perfect drink at holiday parties.

Ingredients you need to make slow cooker apple cider

  • 8-10 apples, quartered, seeds, stems and cores removes to prevent bitter apple cider. You can use either red or green apples. Our family prefers sweet red apples!
  • 3/4 – 1 cup brown sugar, you could also use coconut sugar or any sweetener of choice. Brown sugar adds a lot of depth from its molasses, which is what I recommend most. Start with 3/4 cup and add more if needed after tasting
  • 3 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 8 cups of water, more if needed

Step by step how to make it:

  • Start by prepping your apples by cleaning and cutting them into quarters. You can remove seeds and stems to prevent apple cider from becoming bitter during your cook time.
  • Add apples, orange peel, water and spices into a large stockpot. Cover with water.  Water should fully cover apples but leave a little room to prevent water from boiling over.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and let simmer for 2 hours.
  • Use a wooden spoon or potato masher to mash the apples and oranges into the side of the pot to release their flavor. Then continue to let simmer for another hour.
  • Use a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer to remove the fruit and large bits of spices, and discard them.
  • Stir in the brown sugar, tasting and adding more until you reach your desired level of sweetness. Continue to mix until the sugar has fully dissolved before removing from heat and allowing your cider to cool slightly.
  • Once cooled slightly, add in one cup of bourbon. More or less per taste
  • Serve warm or cooled with a cinnamon stick


  • For thicker cider, cook over low heat for 20 minutes to allow it to reduce
  • For a festive flair, and additional sweetness, add a little maple syrup
  • Serve hot or cold

Benefits of making your own homemade apple cider at home

One of the major benefits of making your own is that you don’t end up with a large plastic jug, and the ingredients can all be composted. You can also use this recipe to make any of your favorite apple cider recipes, including our Brown butter apple cider donuts with cinnamon , apple cider mimosa, apple cider bourbon float, apple cider pancakes. or apple cider brisket

How to store cider:

We store our apple cider in an airtight container, like the one pictures above –  for up to two weeks in our refrigerator. You can freeze if you make too much!

Gift your cider:

Print this beautiful printable to share with your loved ones!

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