In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about spiked cider drinks and how to implement them in your bar or restaurant menu.
What Is Spiked Cider?
Spiked cider, also known as hard cider or spiked apple cider, is a unique drink, made of spices (ginger, cloves, and cinnamon) and rum or bourbon, and of course, apple cider.
How to Make Spiked Cider?
If you want to make hot spiked cider drinks, you will need the ingredients from the previous paragraph and follow these steps:
- Toast spices for a few minutes on the stovetop.
- Add the apple cider and stir until it gets warm.
- While it’s cooking, small particles will rise to the top. Filter them out.
- At this point, the cider is a non-alcoholic beverage. Add rum or bourbon to it. You need to add about 2 ounces of the type of alcohol you prefer to one cup serving.
What’s the Best Spirit to Use for Spiked Cider?
Rum and bourbon are great for making spiked cider drinks. Aged rum, white rum, and dark rum go well with the rest of the ingredients in the drinks.
As for bourbon, you can also add any type. Rum melds perfectly into the spiked cider drinks and that’s why the majority of people prefer it. However, bourbon is a close second. If you already have some bourbon bottles you need to use up, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.
The History of Cider
Cider production dates back to ancient times. It’s probably one of the first alcoholic drinks humans ever consumed.
Europeans started producing cider more frequently in the Middle Ages. Later, the production process was brought to North America by the Settlers. English people were the ones who planted the most apple trees throughout the American colonies. The trees thrived the most in New England. That’s why cider is a popular drink there.
The History of Spiked Cider
In the 18th and 19th centuries, spiked cider was a staple in American households. It was considered safer to drink than water, as the fermentation process killed harmful bacteria.
During the Prohibition period, the production and sale of spiked cider was banned in the United States. Many apple trees were destroyed during that time.
After the Prohibition period ended, spiked cider drinks were no longer as popular. Regular beer and spirits were the crowd’s favorite. But now, in the 21st century, the interest in cider is spiking again.
You can serve traditional spiked cider drinks, either hot or cold. Other options are combining spiked cider with different types of alcohol to create unique cocktails. If you want to go the unique route, you will need the help of a mixologist.
There’s also an option to serve fruit-infused spiked ciders. These can be very refreshing, fitting for the season, and unique to your business. They are also very easy to make!
Fruit-Infused Spiked Cider Ideas to Try
Below, we have listed the many spiked cider drinks you can create using different fruits. Pick your favorites and don’t be afraid to experiment!
- Strawberry-Infused Spiked Cider
- Blueberry-Infused Spiked Cider
- Blackberry-Infused Spiked Cider
- Peach-Infused Spiked Cider
- Cranberry-Infused Spiked Cider
- Mango-Infused Spiked Cider
- Pear-Infused Spiked Cider
To release the flavor of the fruits, you should press them a little bit. If you need to add more sweetness, use honey or experiment with agave syrup.
Spiked cider drinks are a great way to transition into the colder months if you have a business in the hospitality industry. Because you can make spiked cider both hot and cold, it gives you so many opportunities to create amazing drink and food pairings.
If you happen to be a restaurant owner who is looking for new ways to spice up the fall menu without depending only on pumpkin spice lattes and other common drinks or desserts, let’s look into all the great pairings you can create with spiked cider drinks.
Hot Spiked Cider Pairings
- Apple Pie or Apple Crisp - Warm apple pie or apple crisp with vanilla ice cream pairs wonderfully with hot spiked cider drinks. The apple-on-apple flavors create a comforting feel.
- Cheddar Cheese and Crackers - The sharpness of cheddar pairs amazingly with the sweetness of hot spiked cider. Serve with some whole-grain crackers for texture.
- Cinnamon-Sugar Donuts - Hot spiked cider and cinnamon-sugar donuts create the perfect duo! The spices in the drink complement the sweet and spiced donuts wonderfully.
- Sausage and Sage Stuffing - Hot spiked cider with sausage and sage stuffing is an awesome combo! The savory food complements the flavor of the cider perfectly and everyone will want more of it.
- Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Soup - The earthy flavors of pumpkin or butternut squash soup go well with the apple notes in the drink.
- Caramel Popcorn - This is a great snack you can offer at your bar or restaurant because it will combine well with other drinks, too.
- Grilled Cheese Sandwiches - The melted cheese inside the sandwich complements the cider's sweetness and spices. Add crispy bacon for extra flavor. This will make a great brunch menu offer!
- Spiced Nuts - A bowl of spiced nuts like cinnamon-glazed almonds or candied pecans will add crunch and flavor to enjoy alongside a nice hot cider drink.
- Brie and Fig Jam Crostini - The creaminess of brie cheese and the sweetness of fig jam make a delightful topping for crostini. With cider it creates a sophisticated pairing!
- Caramel Apples - Traditional caramel apples or slices in caramel sauce are a perfect match for hot cider drinks.
- Herb-Roasted Turkey Sandwiches - Consider pairing cider with herb-roasted turkey sandwiches on crusty bread. It’s a great brunch, lunch, and dinner combination.
- Bacon-Wrapped Dates - The savory-sweet combination of bacon-wrapped dates pairs well with hot cider, offering a mix of textures too.
- Cranberry Scones - Cranberry scones provide a contrast to the cider's sweetness, which makes them a great combo to have.
Cold Spiked Cider Food Pairings
- Caprese Salad - A classic Caprese salad complements the cider's light and crisp profile.
- Shrimp Cocktail - A refreshing and savory pairing for cold spiked cider. You may skip this drink in the colder months, but add it to your summer menu.
- Fruit Salad - A great combo for the warmer months includes a cold spiked cider and a nice fruit salad. So refreshing!
- Ceviche - Pair wonderfully with cold spiked cider's citrusy and apple undertones.
- Smoked Salmon - Sliced smoked salmon on crackers or toast and with cream cheese and dill is a luxurious pairing with cold spiked cider.
- Bruschetta - Tomato and basil bruschetta on toasted baguette slices goes perfectly with cold spiked cider drinks.
- Grilled Chicken Salad - A light and refreshing grilled chicken salad makes for a balanced pairing.
- Sushi or Sashimi - Cold spiked cider drinks go well with seafoodl. Sushi and sashimi are great options, too.
- Hummus and Veggies - A platter of vegetables served with hummus is a healthy and satisfying option to enjoy alongside cold spiked cider.
- Guacamole and Tortilla Chips - Cold cider, chips and guacamole make for a great menu offer. Especially if you are running a sports bar.
- Greek Salad - A Greek salad adds a Mediterranean flair to your spiked cider pairing.
- Chilled Gazpacho - A cold tomato-based gazpacho soup offers a refreshing option to enjoy with your cider.
If you want to spice up your cocktail drinks menu, spiked cider drinks are the way to go. Spiked cider can be mixed with different ingredients to create numerous cocktails. You can experiment with locally-sourced ingredients or try well-known combinations. But no matter what route you choose, here are some recommendations from us!
Classic Apple Cider Sangria
Sangria is one of the common cocktails worldwide for a good reason. It’s a great drink to have at any time of the year. But there’s a way to make it even more fall-appropriate - turn it into an Apple Cider Sangria. You will need:
- 2 cups of apple cider
- 1 bottle of dry white wine
- 1/2 cup of brandy
- Sliced apples and oranges
- Cinnamon sticks
How to make it:
- Combine the apple cider with the white wine and the brandy.
- Add sliced apples, oranges, and cinnamon sticks.
- Stir well and refrigerate for a few hours.
- Serve over ice and garnish with cinnamon.
Spiced Rum Cider Punch
If you want to make one of the most popular spirits even more desirable this fall season, this drink is for you. You will need:
- 2 cups of apple cider
- 1 cup of spiced rum
- 1/2 cup of orange juice
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
- Ground cinnamon and nutmeg for cocktail garnish
How to make it:
- In a shaker, combine apple cider, spiced rum, as well as orange juice, and lemon juice. Add maple syrup.
- Shake well and pour into glasses with ice.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and nutmeg.
Caramel Apple Moscow Mule
Moscow Mule is another classic loved by many. Here’s how to transform it for this fall season:
- 1.5 oz vodka
- 1 oz caramel syrup
- 4 oz apple cider
- Ginger beer
- Apple slices and cinnamon sticks for garnish
How to make it:
- In a copper mug, combine vodka with caramel syrup and apple cider.
- Fill the mug with ice and top off with ginger beer.
- Stir gently and garnish with apple slices and a cinnamon stick.
Hot Bourbon and Cider Toddy
If you want to infuse a fall feeling in your bar or restaurant through your cocktails, this option is a must-try!
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1 cup of hot apple cider
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Cloves and star anise (optional)
- Lemon peel
How to make it:
- In a heatproof glass or mug, combine bourbon with hot apple cider and the cinnamon stick.
- If you wish, add a few cloves and a star anise for extra flavor.
- Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.
Cranberry and Cider Fizz
Gin is among the most popular base spirits for cocktail drinks. Here’s a great option with it:
- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz cranberry juice
- 1 oz apple cider
- Club soda
- Fresh cranberries and apple slices for garnish
How to make Cranberry and Cider Fizz:
- In a shaker, combine gin with cranberry juice and apple cider.
- Shake well and strain into a glass filled with ice.
- Top with club soda. Garnish with fresh cranberries and apple slices
We know that it can be challenging to implement new drinks into your bar and restaurant menu. Especially if you haven’t served similar beverages before, and that’s why we are here to help. In this section, we will talk about beverage inventory and restaurant marketing!
Beverage Inventory and New Menu Items
When adding new offers to your menu, like spiked cider drinks, you must think about your inventory first. There are some crucial steps to take and prepare for the new beverages you will be serving.
- Assess Your Current Inventory - Takea inventory of the existing beverage stock. Including mixers, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, cocktail garnishes, and other related items.
- Identify Slow-Moving Items - Pay special attention to slower-moving items. Check expiration dates (read about alcohol expiration) to see what needs to be finished soon. If these items have not been popular for a few seasons or they have not been profitable, make them candidates for removal.
- Determine Storage Space - Evaluate the storage capacity and layout. Determine the space needed for the new beverages. There’s a possibility that you may need a new inventory organization system. Set aside enough time to do that. Well-organized beverage storage will make a world of difference for your business.
- Review Sales and Customer Preferences - Analyze sales data to clearly see customer preferences. Identify trends and gaps in your current offers that can be filled by seasonal drinks.
- Set Clear Objectives - Define your goals. Are you aiming to attract a specific audience, improve your overall beverage selection, or boost revenue? Having clear objectives will help you in the decision-making process.
- Choose the New Beverages - Select the new beverages you want to add to the menu. Consider factors such as demand, pricing, and compatibility with your existing menu and customer base. You can add just a few new items but focus on such that will go well with the rest of your offers.
- Create a Removal Plan - Create a plan for removing slow-moving or outdated items from your inventory. You can make special offers and promotions to clear your inventory faster.
- Update Your Beverage Menu - Revise your beverage menu to include the new spiked cider drinks. Highlight the new offers with appealing descriptions and eye-catching visuals.
- Monitor and Adjust - Continuously assess the performance of the new cocktails you’ve added to the menu. Monitor the impact on your overall sales. Be prepared to make adjustments to the presentation, pricing, or marketing strategy.
- Review Customer Feedback - Encourage customers to give feedback on your new drinks. Use their feedback to refine your menu and to phase-out sooner anything that’s not ordered enough.
How to Market Your New Cider Drinks
If you have not served cider drinks before, you will have to put more effort into marketing them. Here’s how to attract customers with your latest offers!
- Write a Compelling Story - Come up with a compelling story about your new spiked cider drinks. Share what was the inspiration behind them, the unique flavors, or if there are any special ingredients or processes used. A great origins story can spark interest in people.
- Use Social Media - Use all the social media channels to promote the new drinks. Share quality images and other engaging content related to them. Encourage customers to share their own pictures of the drinks when they are visiting your place. Re-share the pictures people tagged your bar or restaurant on for an increased connection and brand awareness.
- Promote Specials and Happy Hours - To promote your spiked cider drinks, include them in happy hour offers and other special deals. This will attract people during off-peak hours and encourage them to try the drinks.
These are just a few tactics you can use to promote your new menu items. If you have a bigger budget, you can invest in different advertising channels, have printed materials, collaborate with influencers, and more.
Great Bars and Restaurants Need Great Beverage Inventory
To make the transition to the colder months even smoother for your bar or restaurant, you need to organize your beverage inventory and stay on top of it. You can do that with the help of our beverage inventory software - BinWise Pro.
With our software you will be able to track everything that goes in and out, notice trends in consumption and pricing, as well as order digitally, and so much more. Book a demo now to find out how we can help your business run smoother!