This is one of my favorite cocktails that we've mixed up here at Chasing Saturdays. As I said yesterday, as soon as the first leaf turns orange, I turn into a cider fiend. Not only does this cocktail, by way of Bon Appetit, highlight my favorite autumnal juice, but it also was a cinch to make and particularly easy to mix ahead of time, perfect for a party or big gathering like Halloween or Thanksgiving.
What I love most about this cocktail is that you can make the punch ahead of time (up to 4 hours in advance, chilled) and let everyone mix their own cocktails, topping off their punch with club soda and adding their own garnishes. Not only do you actually get to enjoy the party instead of mixing drinks all night, but everyone loves the interactive element of it. People love chit chatting by the drink table and being able to control how much alcohol they are consuming - that way they can make their drink as watered down as they like! (Or as strong as they like if they get stuck talking to the guy dressed as Gumby or stuck sitting next to their drunk uncle at Thanksgiving.)
However tipsy you want to get, this drink isn't that strong - which is why it makes a great party punch! The lime juice makes it bright and refreshing, and the the thyme gives it an herbal, more autumnal feeling. It's light, yet seasonal - unlike a lot of the fall, bourbon-heavy cocktails we usually make.
Get a printable version of the recipe here.
To make this cocktail party-ready, we mixed the cider, rum, thyme simple syrup, lime juice and bitters in a pretty carafe. We put the club soda in a large mason jar and laid out the pre-sliced limes. The thyme looks so pretty and rustic so we stood it up in a small glass, letting it serve as a garnish and a centerpiece at the same time. You could write "Top the rum cider with club soda, add ice cubes, and garnish with lime and thyme" on a note card or on a blackboard. Not only have you set up a station for drinks, but you've also created a beautiful decor element for an autumn party. Once this station was set up, everything immediately felt more festive!
(all photos jamie grill photography)