Winter cocktails are one of my favorite drinks categories. They’re the drinks version of comfort food. I particularly love a recipe for a hot cocktail that walks the line between decadent and refreshing. And I found everything I wanted in this spiked apple cider recipe from Partida Tequila.
The right spirit for hot cider cocktails
Partida sent me this easy spiked cider recipe, what they call The Heated Affair, along with a bottle of their añejo tequila so I could try it for myself.
Why I don’t like mixing rum with hot apple cider
I’m not usually a fan of rum-based hot spiked apple cider recipes. I find that the warmed, spiced apple drink in combination with a cane-based spirit like rum is simply too sweet. As I mentioned, I like balanced flavor in a hot cocktail recipe.
What kind of tequila should you use in this hot cider cocktail?
But the idea of a hot apple cider alcoholic drink made with tequila intrigued me. And what is unusual is that this cocktail recipe calls for an añejo tequila. I couldn’t resist trying the recipe at the first chance. And I knew right away that this easy hot cocktail recipe was a keeper.
What is añejo tequila?
Añejo tequilas have been aged 1-3 years. These tequilas are known for being flavorful and having a bit of weight. For that reason, añejos are frequently used for sipping. But it’s this level of body and sophistication that really makes this cocktail come together.
Partida’s añejo tequila is a deep, golden-hued spirit. Although it has hints of sweet, dried fruit, it is also spicy, peppery. It’s a robust tequila, which is part of the reason it works so well in a hot cider drink. Of course, you’re welcome to find your own “right” tequila for this drink, but I recommend looking for something with big flavor and a good bite. Just make sure to use an añejo.
Crockpot spiked apple cider
I know how handy a crockpot can be for making hot cocktails. So I experimented with making this spiked hot apple cider using a slow cooker. (Here’s a link to the slow cooker I use.)
Since this recipe calls for a pre-made, spiced apple cider, there’s really no need to simmer the cider for hours. You can, of course, make your own mulled cider using whole spices including whole cloves, cinnamon sticks and star anise. In this case, the slow cooker makes the ideal tool for creating your drink. But if you’re making your spiced cider from scratch, plan on simmering for at least three hours to let the flavors properly come together.
I prefer the drink mixed right before serving but if you would like to make this hot apple cider spiked with tequila as a batch cocktail, I have some suggestions. Heat the apple cider on low for an hour or on high for less time, then turn the heat to low and add the tequila just before serving the first drink. (Make sure to check the temperature of your mulled cider before you serve the first drink to ensure that your cocktail is neither too cold nor too warm.)
If you want to keep a non-alcoholic batch
Alternatively, keep the hot apple cider in your crockpot alcohol-free. Spike each drink individually so that you have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktail options. Top both with the whipped cream and fresh nutmeg so that even those who don’t imbibe in alcohol can share in the cheer.
How to serve this hot apple cider recipe with alcohol
This alcoholic apple cider is supposed to be served with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a garnish of freshly grated nutmeg. I’m lactose intolerant and normally omit dairy when it’s called for as a garnish. But with this hot cocktail recipe, I highly recommend adding at least a modest topping of freshly whipped cream. (You can also use a dairy-free, vegan whipped cream substitute.)
As for topping the drink with nutmeg, you might think this final flourish is simply a bother. But before you decide to omit this spice, you might want to read up on nutmeg’s power as an aphrodisiac. After all, this drink is called The Heated Affair!
More of my favorite hot cocktail recipes
Warming winter drinks are welcoming and can make any situation feel cozier. Try these warming cocktails to heat things up all season long:
The Heated Affair - A Spiked Apple Cider Cocktail
- 2 oz añejo tequila
- 6 oz your favorite spiced apple cider heated
- freshly whipped heavy cream unsweetened
- freshly grated nutmeg optional
- In a small warm wine glass, add Tequila and hot apple cider. Float heavy cream. Garnish with grated fresh nutmeg over cream.
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