Cranberry-Apple Cider

Fall gatherings just got a little warmer with a big batch of this cider.

Cranberry-Apple Cider
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Melissa Gray; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Cook Time:
1 hrs
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins

Cranberry and apple cider? It doesn't get much more autumnal than that. These flavors are signs of the season, particularly enjoyed around the autumn and winter holidays. In this big-batch beverage, we're making use of cranberries and apple cider to create a signature drink that you'll be sipping on all season long. Whether or not you add booze is up to you—this drink tastes great with brandy or bourbon stirred in just before serving, but you can also leave the alcohol on the side to keep this cider family-friendly.

This warm mulled Cranberry-Apple Cider is sweet, a bit sour, and completely warming. The clear, rosy hue makes this drink ideal to serve to guests at any autumn soiree. The tart cranberries will wake you right up—especially when paired with a splash of bourbon. Generously spiced with whole cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and nutmeg, this cider stews in the stock pot for a whole hour. Perhaps the best part of this recipe is that, as the cider mulls on the stovetop, it spreads its warm, tantalizing scent throughout the whole house.


  • 10 whole cloves

  • 8 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

  • 6 whole star anise

  • 1 whole nutmeg

  • 6 cups filtered apple cider

  • 2 cups cranberry juice

  • 1 orange, thinly sliced

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen, thawed cranberries

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced crosswise

  • 1 Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced crosswise

  • ½ cup brandy or bourbon (optional)


  1. Toast cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and nutmeg in a large Dutch oven over medium, shaking pot often, until spices are fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in filtered apple cider and cranberry juice. Reduce heat to low, and cook, uncovered, 1 hour. (Do not let mixture come to a simmer. If it begins to simmer, remove from heat for 30 seconds and then return to heat.) During last 10 minutes of cooking, add orange, thinly sliced; cranberries; and Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced crosswise.

  2. Serve warm with slices of fruit and cranberries in each mug. If desired, stir in brandy or bourbon just before serving.

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