Spiced or mulled cider is just the thing to serve around a roaring fire. It warms you up from the inside, in more ways than one, and is so simple to make.

I like to use a splash of fresh apple juice in my recipe and lots of bay, black pepper and coriander seed. If you have any left over (unlikely), it’s wonderful as a poaching liquid for pears, or for sweetening and freezing for a spiced cider granita.

Looking for more about apples?

The British apple season marks the start of autumn as trees heavy with fruit are harvested to be eaten fresh, cooked into crumbles or pies, and mulled to make cider. Discover the best British apple varieties for eating, cooking and drinking in our expert guide.

British apple guide: traditional varieties and easy recipe ideas

Woman collecting basket of apples


  • 2 litres (70fl oz) medium-dry traditional (hard) cider
  • 500ml (17fl oz) apple juice
  • 100g (3½oz) light brown soft sugar
  • Thickly pared zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 8 bay leaves, torn
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into thin wedges

For the spice bag

  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 8 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods, bashed about
  • 1 8cm (3¼in) cinnamon stick, broken into pieces


  • STEP 1

    Pour the cider into a large pan. Add the apple juice, sugar, orange zest and juice, bay leaves and apple slices.

  • STEP 2

    Place all the spices into a square of muslin (cheesecloth) or clean cotton cloth, draw in the edges and tie the cloth up with string to form a sealed bag.

  • STEP 3

    Drop the bag into the cider. Set the pan over the fire (or hob) and bring the liquid up to a very gentle simmer. Remove it from the direct heat and let it sit and infuse for 5–10 minutes.

  • STEP 4

    Serve hot, ladled into cups or glasses.

This recipe was extracted from Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating by Gill Meller. Photography by Andrew Montgomery

Outside recipe book by Gill Meller


Gill MellerChef and food writer

Gill is a chef, food writer, author, food stylist, and cookery teacher who lives and works near Lyme Regis in Dorset.