This sparkling apple cider punch recipe - made with cider, ginger ale, and pineapple juice - is full of fall flavor yet unexpectedly light and refreshing. Spike it with spiced rum for an easy cocktail or opt for a non-alcoholic mocktail - it's delicious either way! This simple fall cocktail is perfect for a crowd but can easily be scaled down for a cozy night in.
Last month while planning the menu for our son's first birthday party, I searched high and low for a simple, refreshing fall cocktail recipe and came up empty handed. I wanted a drink that tasted like fall, so an apple cider cocktail was an obvious choice, but apple cider cocktails tend to be thick and heavy, and I was looking for something lighter.
Determined to serve a refreshing fall drink, I taste-tested several different apple cider pairings, and this easy, three-ingredient flavor combo was the clear winner. Cameron's birthday party was on an 80 degree day in late September, and this apple cider punch was perfect for a warm fall day.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
It's not easy to find a fall cocktail recipe that's light and refreshing, and this recipe gets it just right with its balance of sweet apple cider, subtly spicy ginger ale, and tangy pineapple juice. The recipe comes together in just 5 minutes with 3 simple ingredients (if making a non-alcoholic mocktail, or 4 if making a cocktail). It's an effortless drink recipe that's sure to impress, no bartending skills necessary!
I've now made this punch several times - both with and without the alcohol - and it's quickly becoming one of my go-to fall cocktail recipes!
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Apple Cider - Apple cider is the star of the show, and it's sweet, crisp flavor screams fall.
Ginger Ale - Ginger ale's subtly spicy flavor is the perfect complement to the fruity flavors in this recipe, and it adds just the right amount of fizz to the drink.
Pineapple Juice - The sweet and tangy pineapple juice gives this punch a certain je ne sais quoi and is responsible for its refreshing flavor. I know what you're thinking and the idea of apple cider and pineapple juice seemed strange to me, too, but it's absolutely delicious and really helps to lighten up the cocktail. Be sure to use 100% juice.
Spiced or Dark Rum (optional) - A spiced rum, like Captain Morgan, or a dark rum is the perfect alcohol pairing for this cocktail, should you choose to imbibe. The alcohol is completely optional, and this drink is delicious with or without it.
Garnishes - I like to play up the drink's flavors with garnishes, but feel free to get creative. Apple spices, pineapple slices or leaves, and spices like cinnamon stick, star anise, or cloves are all great garnish options.
Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions
Step 1: In a pitcher or punch bowl, add apple cider, ginger ale, pineapple juice, and spiced rum (if using). Stir to combine.
Step 2: Add ice and any garnishes.
Step 3: Serve immediately.
To scale this recipe down and make a single serving, combine 2.5 ounces each of apple cider, ginger ale, and pineapple juice and 1.5 ounces spiced rum (optional). Stir in a glass with ice, add any garnishes, and enjoy.
This cocktail or mocktail can easily be made ahead and stored covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap to retain the ginger ale's carbonation. Add ice and garnishes just before serving.
Apple cider pairs beautifully with dark liquors like rum (spiced or dark) or whiskey/bourbon, which amplify the cider's fall flavor. I recommend spiced rum for this recipe.
A pitcher or punch bowl are great for serving punch at a party. If using a pitcher, it may be challenging to pour garnishes into glasses so consider adding garnishes directly to the glasses and then pouring the drink from the pitcher or having a plate of garnishes for party goers to add to their drinks. If using a punch bowl, guests can simply ladle a serving of punch along with the garnishes into their glass.
You'll want to add ice to keep the drink chilled but also want to avoid watering the punch down too much. The trick is to use larger ice cubes or even an ice ring so that the ice melts more slowly. Small ice cubes are fine for using in glasses, but opt for larger ice cubes made in a large ice cube mold or muffin tin or an ice ring made in a bundt pan for chilling the pitcher or punch bowl.
More Fruity Drink Recipes
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Sparkling Apple Cider Punch
- 2 cups apple cider
- 2 cups ginger ale
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 1 cup spiced rum, optional
- Ice cubes
- Sliced apples
- Cinnamon sticks
- Star anise
- Pineapple slices or leaves
- In a pitcher or punch bowl, add apple cider, ginger ale, pineapple juice, and spiced rum (if using). Stir to combine.
- Add ice and any garnishes.
- Serve immediately.