As summer winds down, everyone in the hospitality industry already plans their offers for fall and winter. Whether it would be adding more exotic wines to the wine lists, sticking to the classic fall cocktails and winter cocktails, or doing something unique like fruit-infused spiked cider - something on the menu will change!
Spiked ciders are a great way to transition into the colder months. Because you can make spiked cider (also known as hard cider) both hot and cold, it gives you so many opportunities to create amazing drink and food pairings. And this is what we want to talk about in this article!
If you are a restaurant owner who is looking for new ways to spice up the fall menu without depending only on pumpkin spice lattes or other common cocktails and drinks, let’s look into all the great pairings you can create with spiked cider.
Hot Spiked Cider Pairings
Want to serve hot spiked cider this fall but don’t know what food it will go with? We got you covered with this comprehensive list of pairing options that will boost customer satisfaction.
Key Takeaway: There are many great spiked cider pairings you can create in your bar or restaurant. Some of them are perfect for brunch, while others are better for dinner or when enjoying a drink at a sports bar. Either way, it’s always a delicious experience!
Apple Pie or Apple Crisp
The classic combination of warm apple pie or apple crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream pairs wonderfully with hot spiked cider. The apple-on-apple flavors are comforting and one of the most fall combinations you could have!
Cheddar Cheese and Crackers
The sharpness of cheddar cheese pairs beautifully with the sweetness of hot spiked cider. Add some whole-grain crackers for texture and you get one of the easiest and most delicious spiked cider pairings.
Hot spiked cider and cinnamon-sugar donuts create a heavenly duo! The spices in the cider complement the sweet and spiced donuts really well. This is one of those dessert and drink combos people will remember for a long time.
Sausage and Sage Stuffing
One delicious pairing perfect for Thanksgiving and the holiday season, in general, is hot spiked cider with sausage and sage stuffing. The savory meal complements the flavor of the cider so well that everyone will end up wanting more!
Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Soup
The earthy flavors of pumpkin or butternut squash soup harmonize with the apple notes in the cider, creating a comforting fall meal.
The sweetness of caramel popcorn is a delightful contrast to the warmth and spices in hot spiked cider. This is a great snack you can offer at your bar or restaurant during the fall season because it will combine well with other drinks, too.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
The gooey, melted cheese inside a grilled cheese sandwich complements the cider's sweetness and spices. Add some crispy bacon for extra flavor. This will make a great brunch offer!
A bowl of spiced nuts, such as cinnamon-glazed almonds or candied pecans, adds crunch and flavor to enjoy alongside a nice hot cider. This is another great snack you can offer to your customers. It’s perfect when they don’t want to have a full-on meal or they are done with dinner and want something small with their drinks.
Brie and Fig Jam Crostini
The creaminess of brie cheese and the sweetness of fig jam make a delightful topping for crostini. Serve it alongside a nice spiked cider for a sophisticated pairing!
Traditional caramel apples or slices dipped in caramel sauce are a perfect match for hot cider. They capture the essence of fall. You can even use this offer as a part of your fall restaurant marketing campaign!
Herb-Roasted Turkey Sandwiches
If you're serving hot spiked cider for a hearty lunch, consider pairing it with herb-roasted turkey sandwiches on crusty bread. You can also add these sandwiches to your brunch menu. This is one of those spiked cider pairings that will win the hearts of many!
The savory-sweet combination of bacon-wrapped dates pairs nicely with hot cider, offering a mix of flavors and textures.
Cranberry scones provide a tangy contrast to the cider's sweetness. They're perfect for a morning or afternoon pairing.
Cold Spiked Cider Food Pairings
If you prefer to serve cold spiked cider (or this is how your customers like it), you can try serving any of these dishes, too. The great thing about cold spiked cider is that you can serve it all year round. You can change things up by infusing it with fruits that are typically for the specific season, too!
A classic Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, basil leaves, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction complements the cider's light and crisp profile. This is one of the spiked cider pairings that people with different lifestyles will be able to enjoy.
A chilled shrimp cocktail with tangy cocktail sauce is a refreshing and savory pairing for cold spiked cider, especially on a warm day. You may skip this offer for fall and winter, but add it to your spring and summer menu. Your customers will love it!
A colorful fruit salad featuring fresh berries, melon, and citrus segments enhances the fruity notes in the cider, creating a refreshing combination. It’s one of the best spiked cider pairings you could offer for the warmer months.
The bright and zesty flavors of ceviche, made with fresh seafood and citrus juices, pair wonderfully with cold spiked cider's citrusy and apple undertones. If you are running a seafood restaurant, look into this pairing option.
Thinly sliced smoked salmon served on crackers or toast points with cream cheese and dill is a luxurious pairing that complements the cider's complexity. You could have this on your brunch, lunch, or dinner menu, and will always be a hit pairing.
Tomato and basil bruschetta on toasted baguette slices provides a burst of flavor that matches well with the cider's crispness. Yet another great combination you can serve all year round and for every meal.
Grilled Chicken Salad
A light and refreshing grilled chicken salad with mixed greens, sliced almonds, and a citrus vinaigrette dressing makes for a balanced pairing.
Sushi or Sashimi
The clean flavors of sushi or sashimi, paired with soy sauce and wasabi, work harmoniously with the cider's subtle sweetness. Cold spiked cider goes well with seafood quite well, so if you are running a sushi restaurant you could easily try and incorporate this beverage into your menu.
Hummus and Veggies
A platter of fresh-cut vegetables served with creamy hummus is a healthy and satisfying option to enjoy alongside cold spiked cider. This foods are suitable for people on a vegan diet, but you should know that for the most part, spiked cider can’t be vegan. Be sure to tell your customers about the ingredients and whether you use honey to sweeten it.
Guacamole and Tortilla Chips
Creamy guacamole and crispy tortilla chips offer a satisfying combination of flavors and textures with the cider. That’s a great offer to have, especially if you are running a sports bar.
A Greek salad with feta cheese, olives, cucumber, and a lemon-oregano dressing adds a Mediterranean flair to your spiked cider pairing. A perfect combination to serve at your restaurant, especially if you are focusing on Mediterranean cuisine!
A cold tomato-based gazpacho soup with cucumber and bell peppers offers a refreshing option to enjoy with your cider. It may seem odd at first, but it’s one of the spiked cider pairings you and your customers will enjoy most!
Frequently Asked Questions about Spiked Cider Pairings
Want to know more about spiked cider pairings? We got you covered! Below, you will find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic!
What Type of Cheese Goes Best With Spiked Cider?
Creamy cheeses like brie and camembert, sharp cheddar, and blue cheeses are excellent choices to pair with spiked cider. They complement the cider drinks flavors.
What Fruits Can Be Used to Garnish Spiked Cider?
Fresh apple slices, orange wedges, lemon twists, and even berries make great fruit garnishes for spiked cider and spiked cider cocktails, adding visual appeal and flavor. Experiment or ask a cocktail expert for help if you want to create something truly unique and beautiful!
Are There Gluten-Free Food Pairings for Spiked Cider?
Many of the suggested spiked cider pairings, such as cheese and fruit, are naturally gluten-free. Ensure any bread or crackers are gluten-free if needed.