Kel’s Honey Bourbon and Apple Cider Punch, Party On!

Kel's Cafe honey bourbon apple cider punch

Love apple cider? Love bourbon? If so, you must try this adult beverage at your next gathering. I like to make pitchers of drinks for my guests whenever we celebrate any occasion — usually mimosas, bloody Marys and/or sangria. It’s just so easy to let people serve themselves without making individual cocktails, allowing more mingle time for all.

This festive punch is inspired by a recipe I saw on the New York Times cooking website and is perfect for winter gatherings, such as New Year’s or Super Bowl parties. It combines bourbon, pressed apple cider, fresh citrus juices and a hint of cinnamon for an easy-to-make and yummy seasonal drink.

I altered the ingredients a bit (of course I did) and substituted a honey bourbon for the regular variety because I thought the hint of honey in the booze would go great with the apple cider (it does). I used diet tonic water instead of club soda due to personal preferences and swapped the dark brown sugar with a lower calorie brown sugar blend (in this case Truvia.) This is party in a punch bowl that will have your guests coming back for more!

I cut this recipe in half since there weren’t enough of us to warrant a full bowl of punch, so feel free to do the same. If you think you’ll have leftovers, just skip the punch bowl step and fill your glass with ice, pour in the punch, top off with your choice of club soda or tonic and garnish with a fresh orange slice.

punch in a cardinal glass

Ingredients (Yields 8 servings, approximately 10 ounces)

Kel's Cafe honey bourbon apple cider punch ingredients

For the syrup:

  • 1 cup brown sugar blend
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups water

For the punch:

  • ½ cup brown sugar and cinnamon syrup
  • 3 cups honey bourbon
  • 4 cups pressed apple cider
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice (from 1 medium-large orange)
  • 4 cups ice (plus more to fill glasses)
  • 2 cups diet tonic water or club soda
  • 1 orange, cut into wheels for garnish


In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar blend and cinnamon sticks with the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sugar has completely dissolved, stirring occasionally. Discard cinnamon sticks and let syrup cool. Leftover syrup may be kept refrigerated for a week.

Make simple sugar

Combine syrup, honey bourbon, apple cider, and lemon and orange juices in a large pitcher and mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Mix bourbon apple cider simple sugar citrus juices

Pour chilled punch into a punch bowl. Add 4 cups of ice and stir in the tonic water or club soda. Garnish with orange wheels. Serve punch over ice. And remember, please stay safe and drink and drive responsibly.


Kel's cafe bourbon punch

Kel’s Café wishes everyone a joyous, healthy and happy New Year. See you in 2019, and thanks for following me!

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!


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