Fall is always a time of gatherings. Throughout the season there are harvest dinners, Halloween parties, Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, and all the December holidays soon after. That's why I'm excited to bring you a "big batch" apple cider cocktail for fall occasions; one that you can mix up easily in a pitcher, chill in the fridge, and serve to a crowd.
I'll be the first to admit that I generally prefer to make cocktails to order. But sometimes (think Thanksgiving dinner chaos) it's just not practical. Whether you have a bunch of people over, a bunch of other dishes to make, or both, a pitcher-style cocktail can be your best friend. This one unites sweet apple cider with cozy, spicy chai and will match all your fall menus. Remember to bookmark this chaider punch since I can guarantee you'll want to come back to it again and again.
What is Chaider?
In case you haven't heard this term before, "chaider" is a delightfully cozy (and trendy) fall drink that unites two classic favorites: chai tea and apple cider. It has the best characteristics of both, and the sweet/spicy combination is so perfect. This version introduces rum into the mix for a party punch vibe. It's a great drink for when you can't make up your mind about which seasonal beverage you want: an apple cider cocktail or a chai cocktail.
In this version, you'll brew strong chai tea and mix it into the punch. Since the chai is a flavor powerhouse in this recipe, make sure to use really high-quality loose-leaf chai with whole spices. I suggest decaf chai because presumably this is an evening-time beverage, and also because the combination of alcohol and caffeine can be weird for some people. Just remember that you'll need to cool the tea before adding it into this chai cocktail, so you'll want to think ahead a bit.
Chaider Rum Punch Variations
In the recipe card below, I give the proportions for a pitcher version of this festive apple cider cocktail that will serve 4-6 people. That's definitely the way to go for a party! But if you want to make just a single cocktail, you can easily adjust the proportions as follows:
3-4 oz apple cider
1.5-2 oz rum
1-2 oz strongly-brewed and cooled decaf chai tea
0.5 oz orange liqueur
Like many cocktails, this one is easy to vary based on your preferences (hence I've given ranges above rather than absolute measurements). Feel free to add another splash of rum for a boozier version or decrease the rum for a gentler version. We've also done this drink topped with ginger beer for a lovely, festive spin.
Low-Alcohol and Mocktail Versions
This cozy chai cocktail can easily become a low-alcohol sip or a mocktail. For a low-alcohol version, just do a 50/50 mix of this punch and non-alcoholic ginger beer. For a mocktail, just omit the rum and orange liqueur, add a splash of freshly-squeezed orange juice, and top it with ginger beer; there are so many other flavors here that it still works nicely without the rum. If you have guests coming with different preferences, set up a cute "create your own chaider punch" bar and let everyone mix their own.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here's what you'll need for this chai cocktail recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Apple cider. You absolutely need good, fresh, local (if possible) cider for this apple cider cocktail. Note that cider is not the same thing as apple juice and this won't work well with the latter.
Rum. I'm of course smitten with Koloa Rum from Kaua'i! I love their Gold Rum in this recipe. Make sure you choose a light-colored rum so that the color of the cider shines through; a dark rum will make the cocktail a less appealing color.
Chai. This recipe will work best with an artisan, loose-leaf, decaf chai tea mix that contains whole spices including cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardamon, and orange peel. Brew the chai strongly, then cool it completely before mixing the cocktail.
Garnishes. See the photos for inspiration. I love an abundantly-garnished drink for a festive occasion!
Why choose one cozy fall beverage when you can have both? This charming combination of spicy chai and sweet apple cider just feels so right for this time of year. Add in some rum and some festive garnishes and you have the perfect party-ready cocktail. Chaider is the intersection of the two best fall beverages and I'm so excited for you to try it.
I love serving this cozy chai cocktail at a fall gathering because it feels so special. I especially like that it's make-ahead friendly; it will feel great to have this sitting in a pitcher chilling in the fridge ahead of time, knowing that your beverage needs are all taken care of. Remember to scroll down to the official recipe card for the big batch version, or to scroll up to the "Variations" section for the individual version. Cheers!
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Disclosure: This recipe has been developed through a paid partnership with Koloa Rum. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.
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