Holiday Orchard Cocktail Recipe

Apples play a starring role in wintry celebrations around the world

Holiday Orchard Cocktail by Jules Aron. Photo by Gyorgy Papp
Holiday Orchard Cocktail by Jules Aron. Photo by Gyorgy Papp

With apples being one of the few winter fruits available around the world during the season of cheer, is it any wonder that the crisp, crimson pome found its way into so many holiday traditions? In pagan times, individuals decorated trees with apples, fruits, and nuts during the winter solstice, a practice that Christians eventually adopted. As part of Rosh Hashanah, Jewish families dip apple slices into honey to represent their hope for a sweet and fruitful year ahead.

Apples are often used as decorations, as in a pomander, from the French pomme d’ambre, where cloves are pierced into the flesh of an apple and incorporated into a holiday centerpiece. They are also often given as stocking stuffers and gifts. In Eastern European Christmas traditions, young men gift decorated apples to young women. In Asian stores, you may find apples wrapped in festive paper ready for gifting.

For me, there’s no better way to celebrate the season than with a crisp, sparkling bevvy. With so many indulgent meals and heavy drinks during December, a light and bright apple sparkler is simply rejuvenating. Here’s one I’m loving this month.

Holiday Orchard


  • 1 1/2 oz. Upstate Vodka, a handcrafted, apple-based spirit
  • 1 oz. fresh-pressed apple juice
  • 1/2 oz. fresh-pressed ginger juice
  • 1/2 oz. chai-spiced syrup
  • 2 oz. sparkling cider

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish lavishly with sliced apples, dried cinnamon apple cubes, and cinnamon sticks.

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