Apple Pie Moonshine Recipe

Apple Pie Moonshine Recipe

Apple pie moonshine is a lot of fun to drink and it’s easier than ever to make at home. This is a favorite flavor among today’s moonshine distillers, but taking on this simple recipe lets you customize the flavor. With a bottle of unaged whiskey, a well-stocked spice cupboard, and some brown sugar and apple cider, you can create your ideal version of the popular fall liquor.

For years, homemade apple pie moonshine was made with a high-proof grain alcohol like Everclear and a little vodka to take the edge off. While you can go that route, today there is a bounty of well-crafted, legal moonshine available at the liquor store. Starting out with this smoother base lays a better foundation for the sweetened, spiced apple cider and creates a delicious drink.

The recipe makes between 3 and 4 cups of moonshine, depending on how you blend the two liquids to taste. Make it in a single quart jar or divide it into two pint jars. Once you find your ideal mix, make a larger batch. It’s a fun homemade gift, can be enjoyed straight at any temperature, and a tasty foundation for autumn apple cocktails.


  • 2 cups apple cider

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 3 to 4 cinnamon sticks, divided

  • 3 to 4 whole cloves

  • 3 pods green cardamom, optional

  • 1 whole star anise, optional

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups 100-proof moonshine, to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the apple cider to a slow boil. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved.

    Making Brown Sugar-Sweetened Apple Cider for Homemade Apple Pie Moonshine

    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

  3. Add 2 cinnamon sticks and all of the other spices, stirring to combine the ground spices. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat. Keep covered and let steep until completely cool, about 1 hour.

    Making Spiced Apple Cider for Homemade Apple Pie Moonshine

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  4. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and strain all of the spices out of the apple cider.

    Straining Spices From Apple Cider for Homemade Apple Pie Moonshine

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  5. In a 1-quart jar (or larger), combine 2 1/2 cups of the moonshine, 1 cup of the spiced apple cider, and vanilla extract. Mix well, taste, and add more moonshine and cider as needed; the flavor will mellow as it rests, so mix it a little strong.

    Making Apple Pie Moonshine

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  6. Add 1 cinnamon stick to the jar, tighten the lid, and shake vigorously. Store in a cool, dark place for one week, shaking it once a day, before drinking.

    Homemade Apple Pie Moonshine

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  7. Serve as is or over ice or in a heated glass, garnishing with a cinnamon stick. It also works well in cocktails. Enjoy.

    Homemade Apple Pie Moonshine

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    Does Homemade Apple Pie Moonshine Need to Be Refrigerated?

    As a liqueur, apple pie moonshine doesn’t need to be stored in the refrigerator. You can refrigerate it if you like; it will extend the shelf life and the chill makes it easier to drink straight. While the high alcohol content does preserve it, homemade liqueurs can go bad and develop an off-flavor. Since it doesn’t have the shelf life of commercial liqueurs, it’s best to drink the apple pie moonshine with a month or two.


    • A 750-milliliter bottle of unflavored moonshine yields just over the 3 cups required of this recipe.
    • When splitting the moonshine into smaller jars, place one cinnamon stick in each. It does not have to be removed and will continue to infuse the moonshine with flavor.
    • The apple cider cooks down as it heats and the recipe fills a quart jar all the way with a little extra for your tasting samples. If you want more space to work, blend the cider and moonshine in a bowl or larger jar, then transfer it to the final jar(s).
    • The ground spices will leave a bit of sediment in the finished moonshine. If you prefer to eliminate that, line the strainer with cheesecloth or filter it through cheesecloth after resting.

    Recipe Variations

    • Use any or all of the spices to create a custom combination. Cinnamon is the key spice and it can even be used alone.
    • Replace the nutmeg and cloves with 4 to 6 allspice berries or 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice.
    • Instead of moonshine, use 2 cups 190-proof grain alcohol and 1 cup vodka. Combine the two, then blend it with the apple cider. For a balanced flavor, start with equal parts of the makeshift moonshine and cider. Add more of either ingredient to suit your taste; it will naturally have more of a bite due to the higher alcohol content.

    How Strong Is Apple Pie Moonshine?

    Sweetened apple pie moonshine is a homemade liqueur. When you dilute 100-proof moonshine with the apple cider, the strength is lowered to about 70 proof (35 percent ABV). That’s the same as a flavored vodka but stronger than the average liqueur (40 proof). This is a nice range for a drinkable liquor that doesn’t burn terribly when you take a straight shot. If you opt for the grain alcohol-vodka blend, the “moonshine” will fall somewhere in the 116 proof (58 percent ABV) range.


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