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Bourbon Apple Cider Punch

Our friend Lori Yates, from Foxes Love Lemons, shows us how to spice up a classic Michigan refreshment to make the perfect cocktail for the holidays!

For this recipe, I set out to make a festive holiday cocktail, and I feel like I ended up with the most Michigan drink of all time. An ode to my home state, in a glass!


To make this Bourbon Apple Cider Punch, start by grabbing a carton of local apple cider. The best apple cider comes from Michigan apples, and no, I'm not at all biased. You'll also need a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine. If you want to keep it in Michigan, several Michigan wineries make sparkling wine!


Then, we come to the ginger ale. Any Michigander will tell that you that when we say ginger ale, we mean Vernor's. Nothing else will do. Created in 1866 by James Vernor, a Detroit pharmacist, Vernor's is the oldest surviving ginger ale in the country. The company has since been acquired by a major national conglomerate, and I don't even think it's still made in Michigan. But, the bottle of it I bought for this punch still has the "Pure Michigan" logo on it, and that's good enough for me.


Bourbon is one of my favorite spirits, especially in the winter, and I think it pairs especially well with apple cider and ginger ale. There are a few Michigan-made bourbons on the market, so seek those out if you wish. If you're not a fan of bourbon, I've also tested this punch with rum, and it's just as delicious.


One thing I love about this drink is that it's a big batch cocktail, making it perfect and easy for parties this holiday season. Instead of having to make a separate cocktail for each guest, simply set out a punch bowl, an ice bucket, and some glasses, and let your friends serve themselves. Happy Holidays!


Bourbon Apple Cider Punch

Yield: 10 servings

  • 1 bottle (750 mL) Champagne or sparkling wine

  • 4 cups (32 ounces) apple cider

  • 3 cups (24 ounces) Vernor's ginger ale

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) bourbon

  • Sliced apple, for garnish 



  1. In large pitcher, stir together Champagne, cider, ginger ale and bourbon. Serve over ice, garnished with apple slices


Lori Yates is a Detroit-area recipe developer and food photographer. She is the author of Foxes Love Lemons, where she posts special yet simple original recipes for the "home chef" in all of us.