Orange Spiced Apple Cider

Warm up this holiday season with orange spiced apple cider! Adaptable for all events, you can make this sans booze, or adult friendly with a healthy pour of your favorite whiskey! 

Orange Spiced Apple Cider on a white wood background with cinnamon sticks

My family takes our pumpkin patching very seriously. We tailgated at the pumpkin patch this year, warming up with hot cider in the parking lot, as my bonus dad stirred a pot full of this orange spiced apple cider on a camp stove laid out on the tailgate, while my mom passed around cookies for all the kiddos. Jon opened up his containers of spices, and in the chilly, stream-from-your-breath cold air, we huddled up, sipped cider, and my mom passed out Halloween treat bags to all the grandkids. This is now a family tradition.

And now, I hope it will be for you, too. 

With December upon us (omg, WUT?!), this is the weekend we will have to go get our Christmas tree. Living the nurse life, with a spouse who is working every other weekend, means that you have to make the most of the weekends you have. If you don’t do right then, you might not get another chance. So I’m going to make the most of our weekend, pack up a Thermos of cider, bundle up the baby and head up to pick up a tree.

Orange Spiced Apple Cider with oranges cloves and ribbon

This is the first year I couldn’t wait to get Christmas started. Last year, I was apprehensive, as it mean that I was that much closer to returning to work after my maternity leave ended, and picking back up on a life that would take me away from Emmett, when I was so used to be attached to him every minute of the day.

But this year, as it was full of transitions in and of itself, I am so excited for another spin around the sun with my family, in all of its chaos, and to create more memories and experiences for us to revel in. And, let’s be honest, watch every crappy Hallmark Christmas movie I can get my eyes on. For anyone who has known me, this is completely contrary to me in my former life. Something about the mom hormones must have sparked a love of cheesy movies, and passing out on the couch at 8pm.

Orange Spiced Apple Cider with oranges and cloves

So as we go and get our tree, fill the house with a smell of fresh pine, the kind of smell that only comes at Christmas, and new memories, I’m going to remember that these moments are precious, these times are fleeting, and that the breakable ornaments do not go on the bottom of the tree this year, because your one year old is more like a cat who can’t resist batting at everything that shines.

But they will be my memories, every broken ornament, whiff of brandied fruit cake in the oven, and sip of orange spice along the way. I’m just probably adding some whiskey to mine.

Orange Spiced Apple Cider with ornaments oranges and ribbon

See the video I created for this recipe below!


Yield: 10 Servings

Orange Spiced Apple Cider


  • 1/2 gallon Apple Juice, unfiltered if possible
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 4 strips of Orange Zest, use a vegetable peeler
  • 1/4 Orange, sliced into two wedges
  • 3 whole Cinnamon Sticks
  • Bourbon, if desired



In a large pot over medium head, add in the apple juice. Stir i the brown sugar, all spice, nutmeg, and ground cinnamon. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the cloves, orange zest, orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Stir. Cover the pot and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove all the cloves, orange zest, orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Pour into glasses and serve immediately. Add in bourbon if desired!