Homemade Apple Pie Moonshine Recipe

Good things come to those who wait, right? Well, sometimes. At other times, it's best to get out there and go after it. However, patience pays off with this recipe for apple pie moonshine from recipe developer Michelle McGlinn. Or at least as much patience you can muster because this sweet, potent, perfect-for-fall libation is at its best after it has aged and the flavor has developed over the course of at least 2 weeks, or ideally 4 weeks.

Don't worry too much if you can't hold out that long. "You don't have to wait 2 to 4 weeks," McGlinn explains. "You could drink it right away or after 1 week. The flavor gets stronger as everything steeps, but really, this is a shortcut moonshine and can be drunk right away!" That said, whenever you do crack open a jar of this tasty beverage, make sure you sip slowly — the blend of sweet, spicy flavors hides the alcohol well and makes it that much more enjoyable to drink.

Gather the ingredients for apple pie moonshine

To make a batch of this fall cocktail in a jar, you'll need lots of apple cider and apple juice, granulated white sugar, brown sugar, ground nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom, cinnamon sticks, a bottle of 151-proof or 190-proof grain alcohol, and a vanilla bean pod. "You can use vanilla extract instead of the vanilla bean; you'll just want ½ teaspoon per jar," McGlinn says. Likewise, if you want to use whole allspice and cardamom, use ½ teaspoon of allspice berries and about 12 husked cardamom pods (per McCormick); be sure to remove them once the liquid cools so they don't overpower the moonshine's flavor.

"I recommend using 190-proof [alcohol] if you can access it, as it gets very diluted in this recipe," McGlinn says. "For a stronger moonshine with 151-proof, you could also use half the apple cider and apple juice, which will yield less [moonshine in] total but create a stronger drink." High-proof vodka is another option. For instance, when using 100-proof vodka (the most common), you can use the same method to make the moonshine stronger by cutting the apple cider and juice in half or doubling up on the vodka.

Simmer the juices, add sugars, then the spices

To start the recipe, combine the apple cider and apple juice in a large stockpot or Dutch oven and heat the liquid on the stove, bringing it to a low simmer. Once the apple blend is simmering, pour in both sugars and stir gently until they dissolve fully into the liquid.

Once the sugar has dissolved, stir in the ground nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom, then drop in three cinnamon sticks. Let the pot simmer until the spices are well incorporated (the mixture will be quite fragrant), and then remove the stockpot from the heat.

Cool the juices, then add the alcohol

With the pot off the heat, let it rest until the liquid has cooled to room temperature. "This may take up to an hour," notes McGlinn, and during this slow cooling, leave the cinnamon sticks in the pot to continue infusing the liquid with flavor.

Once the spiced juice and cider blend has cooled, stir in the liquor, mixing the liquids well to fully combine.

Pour the moonshine into jars, add spices, then seal and wait

Now it's time to carefully transfer the moonshine into mason jars. You can do that however you are comfortable; dipping a pitcher into the liquid or using a ladle are good options. Add a fresh cinnamon stick to each jar (reuse the original cinnamon sticks for a few jars if you prefer). Slice the vanilla pod so you have one piece per jar, and drop them into the moonshine. Seal up the jars tightly, which, McGlinn says, "are best stored in the refrigerator, but anywhere that's not hot works."

After 2 to 4 weeks, you can remove the cinnamon and vanilla to extend the moonshine's shelf-life or leave them in for extra flavor. When tightly sealed, it will keep well (again, refrigerated or at a cool room temperature) for about 6 months. "The grain alcohol — especially if you use the highest proof — and added sugars will prevent any of the apple products from spoiling or fermenting quickly in the airtight container," McGlinn notes. If you notice any fizzing or an acidic odor, the moonshine has gone bad and should be discarded.

She adds, "This [recipe] yields a lot! It fills about seven [1-pint] mason jars, and moonshine is great for gifting." As for how best to enjoy the stuff, McGlinn recommends gently heating your apple pie moonshine or serving it over ice.

Homemade Apple Pie Moonshine Recipe
5 from 23 ratings
Make your own apple pie moonshine with this simple recipe. Flavored with seasonal spices, it's a perfect adult beverage for the autumn and makes a great gift.
Prep Time
Cook Time
jars of apple pie moonshine
Total time: 336 hours, 10 minutes
  • ½ gallon (8 cups) apple cider
  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground or whole allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 10 cinnamon sticks, divided
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle 151-190-proof grain alcohol
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, sliced
  1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, bring the apple cider and apple juice to a simmer, then stir in the sugars until dissolved.
  2. Stir in the nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, and 3 cinnamon sticks. Simmer until the spices are well incorporated, then remove from the heat.
  3. Allow the cinnamon sticks to steep while the mixture cools completely (about 1 hour) before removing all of the whole spices.
  4. Once cooled, stir in the alcohol. Transfer the moonshine to jars and place one cinnamon stick in each jar. Cut the vanilla bean and add one piece to each jar.
  5. Store in a cool, dry place for 2-4 weeks.
  6. If desired, strain out the cinnamon and vanilla. Keep refrigerated or at a cool temperature in well-sealed jars for up to 6 months and drink slightly warm or over ice.
Calories per Serving 552
Total Fat 0.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 87.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Total Sugars 78.5 g
Sodium 21.6 mg
Protein 0.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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