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Whipped Vanilla Cider

Cocktail Hour With Lentine Alexis

By Lentine Alexis


Is there anything that screams holiday more than a warm cup of something cozy, while cuddled up with all your people? This creamy, sweet, spiced cider is a dessert-like cocktail that everyone can enjoy, with or without the booze. The recipe below is quick and simple, and makes enough cider for a group, and can be halved or doubled to accommodate your crew.  Making your own whipped cream to top is easy and satisfying, but store-bought whipped cream would work here too.

Whipped Vanilla Cider With Maple Pecans + Bourbon

serves six


for the cider

  • 6 cups fresh apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons maple sugar, coconut sugar or packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 whole nutmeg seeds
  • 1 vanilla bean (split and scraped)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) bourbon, if desired

for the whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 Tbsp maple sugar, or coconut sugar

for the maple pecans

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted pecans
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch of kosher sea salt


1. Make your pecans

In a small bowl, toss together the pecans, maple syrup, and a pinch of sea salt. Toss to coat.

Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the pecans. Stir to toast until the nuts are fragrant and the maple starts to caramelize in the pan, 2-3 minutes.

Remove the pecans from the pan and place in a small bowl to cool. Chop coarsely and set aside.


2. Make your whipped cream

Chill a large bowl in the fridge or freezer for 15 minutes for best results–and stiffest cream peaks. Then pull your bowl and heavy cream from the fridge, add 1 Tbsp maple sugar and a pinch of salt and start whipping.

You can do this with a whisk by hand (hard core! Bravo!) or with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Whisk until the cream takes on soft to firm peaks, and stands up by itself like creamy little mountaintops off the end of your spatula. Set in the fridge to chill while you make your cider.


3. Make your cider

Combine apple cider, maple sugar, nutmeg seeds, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla bean and seeds in a medium saucepan. Gently simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until fragrant.

Remove from heat, and add bourbon if desired. Remove and discard solids. Divide among 6 mugs or heatproof glasses, and top each with a dollop of whipped cream and a little sprinkle of maple pecans.

Lentine Alexis is a former professional endurance athlete & classically trained chef. The former Culinary Director at Skratch Labs, she uses a real-food philosophy to create recipes for athletes and everyone looking to eat well and adventure better. Find more recipes and info on her upcoming cookbook for athletes at lentinealexis.com, or follow her @lentinealexis.