Apple Cider Floats

Remember the time I was ready for it to be fall, but it was still hot enough outside to fry eggs on the sidewalk?  Okay, so it’s not that hot where I live, but still.  We’re in full-on shorts and flip flops attire and probably will be for a while.  What you need this time of year is a spiced autumn wonder disguised as a cold frosty summer treat.  Perfect for those in between months where you’re totally confused as to which season to be devoted to.   I actually thought of this last fall but as the months filled up I never got around to post it.  Then this fall rolls around and cider floats are all over the blogosphere.  Turns out I’m not as ingenious as I thought.  Hate it when that happens!  Here’s what you’ll need for this deeeelicious little treat:

Make sure you use a good apple cider, not plain ol’ apple juice.  Sometimes you’ll see jugs labeled “apple cider” next to the apple juice, but don’t buy it if it looks clear and light, like normal apple juice.  You want an unfiltered cider, so it has little bits of pulp in it; it should be a darker, amber color like this picture.  Don’t be afraid to buy the big jug.  You can make lots of things with the left overs like, Hot Caramel Apple Cider, Apple Butter Pork Chops, and Tortellini Sausage Soup.

This time of year, seasonal jugs of cider start popping up in grocery stores and are often found on the aisle end-caps or in the produce department.  There is also “Simply Apple” found in the refrigerated section near the orange juices.  I think the seasonal type jugs are still better for this particular recipe, but if you can’t find any, Simply Apple would be a good option; much better than plain apple juice.  Depending on where you live, it’s often from local suppliers.  We always support buying products that are produced locally; they not only taste the best because they’re fresh, it’s a great way to support local growers and businesses in your area.

Start by pouring some cider in your glass, you’ll want it about 1/2 full.

See that nice color?  And the flecks of pulp?  Dark and rich, that’s what we’re going for here!

Then you’ll add a little fizz.  The trick is adding the right amount.  It’s not rocket science, but if you add too little, it comes out like flat soda, and if you add too much, it really dilutes the flavor of the cider.  A 2-1 ratio of cider to ginger ale seems to be just about right.  And really, I like to sacrifice a little fizz for a stronger cider flavor.

Next comes a big scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.  Or any of those yummy fall flavored ice creams like cinnamon or apple pie would be yummalicious.  And if you want to go all out, try our Homemade Apple Pie Ice Cream, or this Snickerdoodle Ice Cream without the cookies, or the easy peasy  Two-Ingredient Ice Cream I posted on Monday.

After the ice cream, sprinkle a little nutmeg and cinnamon on top, or a lot of nutmeg and cinnamon if you’re me.

And a nice big drizzle of caramel.

Oh yeah.


And speaking of warm/cold- autumn/summer treats, you can put a scoop of ice cream in our Hot Caramel Apple Cider and it’s fantastic!

Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I just happened to have all the ingredients for this in the house tonight, except for the jarred caramel sauce…so we had to make due with homemade salted caramel sauce instead. 😉 They were pretty divine. I would probably use a little less cider/ginger ale next time, to have a higher ice cream to liquid ratio. ‘cuz you know, there’s no such thing as too much ice cream.

  2. I just made these tonight. They’re delicious!
    Everyone said that it tasted like apple pie in a glass.

  3. These look delicious and with your permission, I would love to include them in my apple blog for tomorrow. I will post a link to your site.

  4. This looks awesome! Does anybody in Washington know of any apple orchards around Seattle? The ones with fresh apple cider and doughnuts?

  5. Mmmm – looks delish! Sounds like a yummy weekend treat! Also – @Lynette I’ve seen some mugs very much like these at Walmart. In fact I have red ones, they don’t carry the red ones anymore, but I’ve seen the clear!

    1. Hmmm, I most certainly could…if I could remember! I’m thinking maybe World Market? I get a lot of my glasses there.

  6. This sounds fabulous. I have people in my family who don’t drink carbonation, would it still taste as good without the fizz?

  7. Looks so good! I’ll be heading to the store in my sundress & flip flops to get some cider (if we’re lucky enough to have some in the stores yet!) AH, finally a taste of fall in FL!

  8. I was hoping for a taste description about the Roasted Saigon Cinnamon. It sounds amazing. Is it more intense in flavor than regular cinnamon?

    1. It’s really good Julianne, it’s definitely a little more…intense isn’t the right word- well maybe it is, just more complex I guess? I really like it. In a lot of recipes you really wouldn’t be able to tell a difference, but when you can taste the cinnamon, the roasted has a great flavor. I love the color too; it’s much darker.

  9. This is funny. I’ve been thinking of making a caramel apple shake lately. I was going to use your caramel apple cider recipe and blend it up with ice cream.

  10. I think this would be great warmed up too. The ice cream would melt a little faster, but MMMMM, warm-spicy-creamy-cider sounds marvelous to me.

  11. Our weather has been tricky lately too. Cool at night and in the morning but in the upper 90’s to even 100’s during the day. So I love how this is the perfect ‘in between seasons’ treat like you said. Kinda like we are ‘faking’ fall! : )

  12. Looks delish! But you have to toss that pre-greated nutmeg and get yourself real nutmeg. It will change your life.

    1. Lol, I do have whole nutmeg- or I *did*. Fresh out, so pre-ground works great in a pinch!

  13. Apparently there is no apple cider to be had in my entire city. Except the fake apple juice kind of stuff or the powder packets. I’m convinced it’s a tragedy b/c I can’t make yummy Fall drinks
    Iike this. :sigh: Your floats look awesome though!

    1. Sarah did you check for “Simply Apple” in the refrigerated section? It’s by the oj and bottled juices. It’s pretty accessible, so see if your store carries it!

  14. This sounds absolutely wonderful! Growing up we had a small apple orchard and we pressed our own cider. I am really wishing I had a jug of that fresh cider right now to make this delightful treat!

  15. Mmmmmmmmm. I’m so anxious to get into fall foods, but here in Georgia, it’s still in the 90s as well. This drink looks like the best of both worlds!

  16. What beautiful pictures! And, the float, oh, my. It looks amazing! It has me looking forward to Fall days…which will mean that these 100 degree Texas days are over.

  17. We had these floats over the weekend and they were great!

    Apple Cider is strictly seasonal down here. If you can’t find it yet, try using the Simply Apple in the cold section where the orange juice is. It’s unfiltered, 100% apple juice and tastes pretty darned close to cider. You can buy smaller bottles too.

    1. Ya, I use Simply Apple a lot. I still think the seasonal jugs are better (they tend to be a bit more concentrated) but Simply Apple would be great if you can’t find the other, and it’s pretty widely accessible so that’s a plus!

  18. sheesh that looks divine!! I need to watch out for jugs of apple cider like that. I don’t know if I’ve ever noticed any at the grocery store!

    1. My store sells them over in the same section as the bagged salad with the drinks like those bolthouse yogurty protein drinks (not sure if that’s the right name for those drinks???)