As we enter into October, we enter into a time when there tend to be lots of gatherings. Over the next couple months there will be harvest dinners, Halloween parties, Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, and all the December holidays soon after. That's why I was excited when my friends at Koloa Rum asked me to work on a "big batch" cocktail for fall occasions; one that you can mix up easily in a pitcher, chill in the fridge, and use to serve 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.
Chai + Cider = 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. It's a great drink for when you can't make up your mind about which cozy beverage you want.
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 chai before adding it into the cocktail, so you'll want to think ahead a bit.
In the recipe card below, I give the proportions for a pitcher version 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 and it's a lovely, festive spin. If you have guests who want less alcohol, you can easily do a 50/50 mix of this punch and non-alcoholic ginger beer.
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this 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.
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 apple 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!
I'm already excited to make this one for Thanksgiving, it feels so special. I love 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.