Apples and oranges! They’re often presented as exemplars of opposition, as though they have nothing in common. But both fruits make appearances on many Thanksgiving tables, with orange in some cranberry sauces and cornbread stuffings with apple, and they mingle beautifully in a mellow punch that gets its verve from bourbon and its depth from a brown sugar and cinnamon simple syrup.
For extra apple flavor, try swapping an apple spirit, such as Applejack or Calvados, in for the bourbon. The leftover simple syrup is great in cocktails – a festive Old Fashioned, for example – and also on oatmeal and rice pudding.
Apple Cider and Bourbon Punch – Really easy and festive for any winter, fall, or Thanksgiving gathering.
For the syrup:
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks, slightly bruised
For the punch:
- ½ cup brown sugar and cinnamon syrup
- 3 cups bourbon
- 4 cups cold-pressed apple cider (nonalcoholic)
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup orange juice (fresh is best)
- 4 cups ice
- 2 cups club soda, or to taste
- 1 orange, cut into wheels, for garnish (optional)
- Nutmeg, to taste
- Make the syrup: In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar and cinnamon sticks with 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered until sugar has completely dissolved, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let syrup cool; discard cinnamon sticks. (Leftover syrup may be kept refrigerated for a week.)
- Combine syrup, bourbon, apple cider, lemon juice and orange juice in a pitcher. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Strain chilled punch into a punch bowl. Add 4 cups of ice and club soda. Garnish with orange wheels. Generously grate nutmeg on top. Serve over ice.
Mixed the fruit ahead, added lemon La Croix and optional bourbon when serving. This let us serve kids, and also try applejack without making multiple batches (bourbon was much better, used Buffalo Trace).
- Calories: 227
- Sugar: 25g
- Sodium: 17mg
Keywords: Cocktails, Apple Cider, Bourbon, Cinnamon Stick, Dark Brown Sugar, Orange Juice