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!

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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 finally got around to making this, even though we recently said goodbye to fall and hello to winter! Didn’t matter because it was scrumptious, regardless of the season. I had another one the following day and used egg nog ice cream, which worked beautifully. What a tasty treat!

  2. We just tried this tonight. 5 stars all around. We will definitely be having this again!

  3. Love this. If anyone prefers things a tad less sweet (or is trying to limit calorie intake) try with Granny Smith Apple Seltzer. Same fizz but with an additional layer of apple. Enjoy!

  4. We do something similar at my house, but we call it Butterbeer. I soften the ice cream and combine it with the spices along with some butter and then refreeze it to put in hot cider (or cold cream soda). 😀 Yum!

  5. Sara:
    What about drizzling the ice cream with your buttermilk caramel sauce? instead of the jarred caramel topping?

  6. Anybody in Southern California and other states with the store “Fresh and Easy” should know that they have pumpkin spice ice cream right now… and it makes an amazing apple cider float. 🙂

  7. Make these last night for a football party we hosted. Everyone loved them! It was like we were drinking Fall!

  8. Made these the other day for a Teacher’s Appreciation treat on confernence day and they were a big hit with everyone. The cider gave it just enough of a tartness to offset all the sweetness. After the teachers were taken care of my kids and I went and made some for all the firefighters at my husbands station.

  9. Mmmm…. we had these for F.H.E. treats. They were delish! I have to admit that I sprayed the Ginger Ale all over the kitchen and my face, though! I didn’t think it was funny then, but from now on I’ll associate these floats with that memory and laugh! 😉

  10. Where I live it is actually getting chilly (we’ll have snow soon), I am interested in trying this with hot apple cider and no ginger ale. Hot chocolate floats are delicious, so why not hot apple cider floats?

  11. I tried this with Cranberry Splash Sierra Mist. And it was DELICIOUS! These will be a fall staple at my house, for sure!

  12. my nephew is a freak for hot chocolate. he even drinks it in the summer. maybe we can ween him onto this for the fall! haha

  13. I wish it would warm up a bit here! In Minnesota we are down to 30s at night and the heat is on, so this drink is a tad too cold. Looks delicious:) Can’t wait to try it out!

  14. Yep, sipping one right now to wash down the Tortellini Sausage Soup I just made. I’m in fall heaven. YUM!

  15. I’ve never heard of an apple cider float before, so your still a genius to me! And it sounds super yummy, too bad I’m already cold and wearing a sweater in Michigan. Maybe we will still have a random hot day or two here.

  16. Mmmmm… that sounds like fall goodness to me!I also love to add a scoop of ice cream to my hot chocolate and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top– delicious!

  17. Simply delish! I look forward to trying this recipe out when I have friends and family over this Fall. Soon it will be peppermint mocha time!

  18. I wonder how it would taste using the 2-ingredient ice cream? Guess I’ll have to find out for myself…. poor me. ; )

    1. I can’t imagine that adding cream and sweetened condensed milk would do anything but enhance it 🙂 Better go test it asap!

  19. That looks like heaven. Isn’t Talbott’s the best cider EVAR?! I used to live not far from where they make it in Palisade, CO. One of the local coffee shops uses it to make lattes… delish!