Traditional Apple Cider Drinks for the Holidays

When pumpkins appear on stands at local farmers’ markets and roadside fruit stands, apple cider season is at hand. Although it can be purchased at your local grocery store any time of the year, it is best when leaves turn to gold and crimson; we take comfort in a cup of hot cider after a day of cold autumn winds. Fresh cider is best and if you are fortunate enough to have local apple farms in your area, you can take delight in the many different ways to enhance its flavor.

Mulled cider is a great drink to serve at pumpkin festivals, fall festivals and Halloween parties. Many times where cider is sold, spices can be purchased in small cartons labeled “Mulled Spices”. Place a tablespoon, or more if desired, on a piece of cheesecloth or coffee filter and twist with a twist tie. Drop in to a pot of hot cider and await the wonderful aroma of fresh cinnamon and cloves. The longer the spices remain in the cider, the stronger the spice flavor becomes and  are easily removed once desired strength is achieved.

If you like cranberry and apple drinks, you will love the romantic flavor of hot apple cider mixed with cranberry wine. Pour approximately one gallon of apple cider in a small crock-pot and let simmer. Add some mulled spices if desired and right before guests arrive for Thanksgiving dinner, add one cup of cranberry wine, a drink that will warm your guests and get them in a festive spirit. A nice touch is to add one cinnamon stick in each glass before the drink is poured and doubles as a stir stick.

A traditional punch for the Christmas holidays can be served cold and the recipe is as follows:

Freeze these ingredients in a round bunt pan or jell mould the day before or sooner if you like.
1/2 bag of cranberries
3 cups apple cider
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup cranberry wine or juice

In large punch bowl add:
1 to 2 gallons chilled apple cider
Dip frozen mould in hot water to release and add to contents of punch bowl
If you want to add a special touch, place a shiny red apple in the center of the mold.

This homemade recipe is a holiday tradition at our house and always sure to bring a compliment or two to the hostess. A glass of apple cider over ice can be a hit at any holiday dinner, depending on what your guests prefer or what your family traditions are, but sometimes a little spice is just what you need to get the party started and perhaps, begin a new tradition at your house.


  1. Cider Recipes –
  2. Stop Eating Too Much & Eat Less Healthy Guidelines
  3. Nonalcoholic Holiday Drinks | Martha Stewart

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