Vanilla bean spiced cider is a warm, aromatic twist on this traditional winter favorite. One reason I love cool weather is the chance to try out new hot beverage recipes. I drink hot coffee in the morning and hot tea in the evening all year long, but when fall rolls around, I really love my spiced ciders.
At a holiday party a few years back, I made a spiced cider that was a huge hit…I ran out long before the party was over! It was a Star Wars themed holiday party, so I called it Kessel Spiced Cider. Any fans will probably get the reference, haha. Ever since, it’s been a favorite holiday party beverage, but maybe that’s also because our party guests were spiking their ciders with bourbon!
Anyway, on a recent trip to French Polynesia, I brought back some Tahitian vanilla beans. I wanted to use the vanilla beans in a recipe, and after rifling through my kitchen to see what I could use, I was inspired to make this vanilla bean spiced cider.
It’s very simple and quick to make, so if you are prepping for a holiday party, this drink won’t take up much of your time at all. Or, if you just want to make a batch all for yourself, I won’t judge. It’s like a cozy fleece blanket in a cup! Check out the recipe below.
Vanilla Bean Spiced Cider
5 cups apple cider (the fresher the better!)
1 vanilla bean (any variety is okay, I’ve linked to Madagascar vanilla beans here)
Large pinch of ground cardamom
The vanilla bean adds such an amazing aroma and body to the cider, and I found that the spices actually did not overpower the vanilla flavor. I found some ground cardamom in my pantry and just threw some in for extra spice. It works well!
First, split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. In a saucepan, add the vanilla bean pod and seeds to the rest of the ingredients above (except bourbon). Simmer on low for about 20-25 minutes. I like to let the liquid reduce a bit and really let the flavors infuse into the cider. Sometimes I even turn the stove off and just let it steep for a bit longer. Strain liquid through a fine mesh sieve.
Pour into mugs, add a splash of bourbon if desired, and serve hot.
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