Apple Pie Red Eye

Food recipe? Check. Drink recipe? Coming right up.

Every year I make the same two “punches” in spiked and non-alcohol versions, along with some other basics to round out the beverage selection. Making a few of the same things every year makes it easy for me to get the recipes right (rather than experiment and fail- that happens a lot), and to plan for however many guests we’re expecting.

Alongside our sparkling cranberry punch, we always serve an Apple Pie Red Eye. It’s super sweet and smooth, but it’s STRONG; though it doesn’t necessarily taste like it is.

I found the recipe online about five years ago, and have referenced several others over time. That’s to say: there are a lot of ways of making this stuff. If you search for it online or on Pinterest, you might find it under Red Eye or Moonshine; but aside from slight variations most of the recipes are the same.

HERE is how I make mine:


  • 8 Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 gallon GOOD apple cider
  • 1/2 gallon apple juice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 liter Everclear* (see note at bottom)


  1. In a large pot, bring cider, juice, sugar, and cinnamon sticks to boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.
  2. Once boiling, reduce to simmer. Simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Remove from heat. Once it has stopped steaming, add Everclear.
  4. You can serve warm, OR:
  5. Allow to fully cool before transferring into containers (takes several hours- I usually make at night, cover, and let cool overnight). I usually transfer back into Everclear bottle and cider/juice containers using a ladle, small strainer (cheese cloth would work, too) and funnel. •I also remove cinnamon sticks at this point. This is optional•
  6. Serve!

*Note: I live in Minnesota, so I can only get my hands on Everclear 151. Traditionally, this is made with 190 proof (guys- it’s so strong). If you use 190, reduce to a 5th (roughly 750ml).

*Another note!! This is a general recipe, and honestly it makes quite a bit. I usually run out, though, so I increased my amounts slightly this year: I used 1.5 gallons cider, a gallon of juice, and 1.75 L Everclear. (Divided between two pots, used 1.5cups sugar in each and 8 cinnamon sticks in each) -I didn’t QUITE double it so it wasn’t an exact science. But hey- it tastes awesome.

*Wait- one more note! 😉 other variations (if you want to try them) can include any of the following and more: spiced rum, cloves, nutmeg, brown sugar, more or less sugar, pumpkin pie spice.


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