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If you’re still planning your holiday dinner and drinks, we have the perfect large-batch, easy cocktail to add to the menu!
This recipe for slow cooker mulled cider from American Pecans not only makes enough for a crowd, but it’s easy to throw together and stays warm in a slow cooker. It has nearly all the flavors of the season, combining apple cider with star anise, ginger and cranberries — then adds in a dessert-y twist by adding caramel and pecans to the rim of each glass.
The drink would be great served at a party as it can be first made without alcohol, then guests can add (holiday) spirits to their individual glasses if they choose. American Pecans suggests bourbon, dark rum, white wine or caramel-flavored or regular vodka. Just make sure you prepare the rim of glasses ahead of time and you have an easy, do-it-yourself winter cocktail.
Here’s the full recipe.
Slow Cooker Mulled Cider with Pecan Rim
For the mulled cider:
1 1/2 liters fresh apple cider
4 pieces star anise
1 orange thinly sliced, divided (half of the slices used on serving glasses and half for the cider)
1/2 lime, thinly sliced
1 inch knob of ginger, skin removed
1 cup fresh cranberries
For the pecan caramel rim:
1 cup raw pecan pieces, finely chopped or ground
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
Pinch of sea salt
Optional alcohol add-ins:
Bourbon, 2 ounces per glass
Dark rum, 2 ounces per glass
White wine, to taste
Caramel vodka or regular vodka, 2 ounces per glass
- Place all mulled cider ingredients into a slow cooker. Heat on low for four hours.
- While cider cooks, make a batch of caramel. Place coconut milk, vanilla, butter and sea salt into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and let simmer, whisking often, for about 30 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in the refrigerator until the cider is ready.
- Once cider is done, pour caramel onto a small, shallow plate. On a separate shallow plate, place crushed pecans. Dip your glass of choice in the caramel until the entire rim is well covered, then dip the caramel rim into the pecan mixture.
- Pour mulled cider into glasses and spike your drink with the desired alcohol if using, stir and let the evening be merry and bright!
Other Holiday Cocktails
Mulled cider not your idea of a tasty holiday cocktail? We’ve got plenty of other festive cocktail recipes you may want to check out instead.
There’s the Snowflake Martini, which is made with vanilla-flavored vodka, peppermint schnapps, white chocolate liqueur and cream, while the Sugar Cookie Martini also calls for vanilla vodka, plus amaretto and sugar cookie- or vanilla-flavored coffee creamer.
If you’re a margarita fan, there are also a handful of Mistletoe Margarita recipes that can turn what is traditionally a summer drink into a winter treat. Just combine tequila with seasonal flavors like cranberry or pomegranate juice and top them with sugared cranberries and a sprig of rosemary or mint.
What is your favorite holiday drink?