The recipe is quite customizable. I sometimes add a couple of pieces of star anise and 1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns for a little more kick. A knot of lemongrass, or a small piece of vanilla bean, would be a nice addition to either the cider or the wine. And 1/4 cup of Cointreau, added just before serving, would not be unwelcome in the mulled wine.

Makes about 1/2 gallon cider or 3 1/4 cups wine


This is easily doubled for a party-appropriate batch, with some caveats: For a gallon of cider, you'll need to use a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. And because it'll take longer for the greater quantity of liquid to come to a simmer, you'll need to either (a) start up the cooker earlier in the day and cook on high for 6 to 8 hours; or, (b) preheat the cider (or wine) in a nonreactive pot on the stovetop, bringing it to just below a simmer before pouring it into the cooker and cooking on high for about 4 hours.

  • 1/2 gallon apple cider or 1 bottle red wine
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar, or more, to taste
  • 1/2 navel orange, sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced into rounds
  • 2 coins peeled, fresh ginger (optional)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, plus more for serving, if you'd like
  • 2 tsp. whole cloves
  • 2 tsp. whole allspice berries
  • 1 tsp. green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 nutmeg


    Put the cider (or wine) in the slow cooker and stir in the brown sugar. Add the orange and lemon slices, and the ginger, if using. Put the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cardamom and nutmeg in a muslin or cheese-cloth bag, pound the bag with a mortar or a heavy pot to coarsely crush the spices inside and drop the bag into the cooker.

    Cover and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours.

    Taste and stir in more brown sugar, if needed. Ladle into mugs (avoiding the bag and the citrus slices) and serve hot from the cooker on the low or keep-warm setting. If you'd like, add a cinnamon stick stirrer to each mug.

    From Slow Cook Modern (Abrams) by Liana Krissoff.

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