Cocktail Recipe: Cider Rum Punch

by Michael on November 4, 2011 · 85 comments

When I was younger I knew the seasons by the aroma of the house each time I walked through the front door. Or snuck in the back. It would lift clear off the stove and spread through the rooms of the house like wildfire. That first step inside and I could describe the changing of the guard outside. The scent would infiltrate my pores and stay with me forever.

Each new season brought with it a new but familiar bouquet of love. When it started getting cold out, there would be a pot of apple cider warming on the stove with cinnamon, cloves and spices. It was the canvas of our autumns and it warmed my bones, year after year. That cider was a fixture from late fall through Christmas and I never tired of walking in and seeing my mom stirring the pot of cider with promise of a hot cup for me.

I remember fondly the weekend car drives we’d take up to my grandparents outside the city. I looked forward to seeing my grandparents and finding some really good cider. My grandmother never drove all those years yet had the same dreams everyone does. She longed for country walks and Sunday drives. So that’s exactly what we did. For her.

We’d pull up the old cracked driveway to see my grandmother sitting in her favourite spot by the window. She didn’t have to move to see us coming. We would drop our things inside the house and take my grandmother away for a drive and walk. She had trouble going for longer walks, especially as she got older, but nothing could stop her from a date with nature and bird seeing. Just the three of us with my grandfather sitting in the car waiting. Like he always did.

We walked forever, but forever was only an hour or so back then. She would stop for a breath and point out the different birds. I would chase them away and she’d call them back. And we carried on. By the time we made it back to the car she was exhausted. And happy. Fulfilled. And then we’d take the scenic road home, made especially beautiful in the fall. All those majestic coloured leaves and towering lean trees skirting the side of the road.

On the way back we’d stop when we saw a sign for fresh apple cider. It runs in the family, all the way down the line. We eagerly waited for that first cup spent around the small kitchen table. Within minutes of entering my grandparents house, the two women would go into the kitchen and my grandfather and I sat back and waited for the aroma to find us.

All these years later I still look for the cider signs. I know we’re fully immersed in the season when I see it hit the shelves at the local market or see hand painted signs litter the countryside. I instantly think of my grandmother and wish she were here. Sharing a moment.

It’s funny that I grew up in a big city and used to laugh off my small town roots. But those roots are long and deep and lead back to my family. Now, after many years living the busy life in the big city, I’m back where I started. In the same small town I used to visit my grandmother in.

I’m only a few blocks from the street I visited as a young boy. They aren’t here anymore, gone somewhere better. But as the weekends roll in I often wish I could drive up that old cracked driveway and see her sitting there. I’d pick her up and take her for a drive to the walking paths behind my house. Then, after bird watching, come inside my house and meet my wife and share a pot of hot cider. She’d love that.

My wife and I love sharing a warm cup of cider as the night fades away and the fireplace plays on behind us. But sometimes, when the week is long and worn and tired, I like to turn my childhood drink into a cocktail fitting the man in me.

This punch is delicious and amazing. But it’s more. The apple cider inside holds the key to my favourite memories. With my favourite people. And it reminds me of where it all started.

From my kitchen to yours,


Cider Rum Punch


  • 8 ounces dark rum
  • 3 ounces lemon juice
  • 4 ounces thyme simple syrup
  • 12 ounces apple cider
  • 4 ounces water
  • 4 ounces club soda
  • 8 dashed of Angostura Bitters
  • sprigs of thyme, garnish
  • apple wheels, garnish


  1. To make thyme simple syrup, combine 2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups of water and 6 thyme sprigs in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring up to a boil and reduce to simmer, until the sugar has fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place the syrup in the fridge to cool.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a large picture or carafe with ice and stir.
  3. Fill your glasses with crushed ice and fill. Place a sprig of thyme inside and put an apple wheel on the rim.
  4. Serves 6.

Leave a Comment

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

A Thought For Food November 5, 2011 at 8:01 am
foodwanderings November 6, 2011 at 10:08 am
Heather Hands November 6, 2011 at 8:33 pm
jas - the gluten free scallywag November 10, 2011 at 9:07 pm
Smith And Ratliff November 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm
Anonymous November 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm
cianne October 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm

made this last weekend and it was a huge hit! thank you… can’t wait to try more recipes from your lovely blog.


Michael October 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Yay Cianne! I’m glad you made it and liked it. It’s a big hit in this house too, especially this time of year!!


Kate October 19, 2012 at 8:19 am

What a beautiful story! I came across your blog/this drink on pinterest and just new before reading the recipe I had to try it! But what is even warmer is your post. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope as the leaves and seasons change you find that same warmth you did years ago with her!

Cheers to all we give thanks for this time of year.


Michael October 19, 2012 at 10:40 am

thanks so much kate! really lovely comment. Come back soon!


Jessie December 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I’m excited to try this for a party this weekend. I’m a little confused about how much Angostura Bitters to add…..8 dashed?



Jan December 13, 2012 at 6:55 am


Seriously , well done!


Victoria March 11, 2013 at 2:51 pm

hope this isn’t too off topic, but I really love your nail polish! what color/brand is it? (if you remember!)


Michael March 14, 2013 at 11:18 am

I’ll have to ask my wife. She held the glasses for me.


Michael March 14, 2013 at 11:21 am

I’ll ask my wife. She held the glasses for me. Ok. They are Sally Hanson Instadry Raspberry Race.


nancy October 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Have you ever tried this with bourbon? If not, is there a particular dark rum you like to use?


Adam October 24, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Is the apple cider alcoholic? I am English and it is over there, but unclear here. Thanks


Kim November 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Hi Michael,

I am making this Saturday and was wondering if bottled lemon juice is sufice, or is it best to use fresh squeezed lemons?



Michael November 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Sorry I missed this. Fresh is better but bottled will be fine. Just scale it down a bit. Thanks!


Kim November 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm

No worries. I went ahead and used the bottle because I was tripling the recipe and didn’t feel like sqeezing the lemons. It was very delicious and I’m so glad I came across this recipe. It’s definitely a keeper, thank you!


Celia Reilly November 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Ok, just reading your story, made my eyes well up. Beautifully written. I can picture everything so clearly. Thank you for sharing!


joyce October 26, 2014 at 6:30 am

luv the story behind this brought tears to my eyes!You need to publish this as a short story so moving and thanks for the punch recipe.,almost forgot about it after I read the story had to run for the Kleenex.


Kynria October 30, 2014 at 3:59 am

What a beautiful telling of a story so close to you. It was the perfect lead in to the drink! Now I’ll have warm bittersweet feelings every time I try this drink… and think of my grandma. Thanks Michael!


Marion November 11, 2014 at 10:50 pm

nice. Thank you for a lovely memory. Will make the cocktail and think of you!!


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