Beyond Cinnamon: 5 Delicious Things to Add to Your Hot Apple Cider

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It's that time of year when a hot cup of spiced apple cider is just what we need to warm our hands and bellies, a true comfort against the colder and darker days. Getting bored with just cinnamon in your cider? Try these delicious additions instead!

Hot apple cider is an excellent choice for those times when we want a warm beverage but need to forego the stimulation of coffee, tea or chocolate. While it's traditional to float a cinnamon stick or maybe the occasional clove in the cider to add even more toastiness to the experience, we can also move beyond the tried-and-true into exciting new combinations.

  • 5-Spice. My local spice shop makes a whole spice 5-spice blend which is perfect for hot cider. What's nice about the whole spices is that you can adjust the mix (adding more or less of certain spices as you see fit) and also take them out once the mixture has reached the level of spice you want.
  • Chili. Float a dried chili de arbol or other spicy chili in your hot cider to add another layer of warmth. A pinch of cayenne or other powdered chili (but not chili powder!) will also do.
  • Citrus. To complement the acidity of the apples, add a slice of lemon or a lemon peel. Orange is nice, too. This can also be delicious if used with the chili, above.
  • Booze. A little brandy or rum is a nice addition for those moments when you really need a warming boost.
  • Maple Syrup. If you want a sweeter beverage, try a splash of maple syrup.

Do you have a favorite addition to warm apple cider?

(Image credits: Dana Velden)