Apple Pie Moonshine

Apple pie moonshine, made with everclear or vodka, is strong and spectacular and exactly what you need to get you through Thanksgiving. Here's how to make it.

Apple Pie Moonshine Recipe

Curious about the story behind apple pie moonshine? According to author Vivian Howard, “When bootleggers had to hide their shine, they’d mix it with apple cider and store it in the cider jug. The juice-colored camouflage quelled suspicion and made white lightning easier to drink. Eventually apple pie moonshine, also called applejack, became a concoction moonshiners hung their hat on.” This apple pie moonshine recipe makes a blissfully ginormous batch. Start with everclear or vodka, add the rest of the ingredients, and then splash it in a punch bowl, pour it in Mason jars and gift it to that special someone, or just keep it all to yourself and indulge in a nip every once in a while. You can easily cut the recipe in half for a smaller batch…although why would you want to do such a thing?!–Renee Schettler Rossi

Special Equipment: Mason jars

Apple Pie Moonshine Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 10 H, 30 M
  • Makes about 1 1/2 gallons (5.7 liters)


  • 1 gallon (3.7 liters) apple cider
  • 1 1/2 cups (320 grams) light brown sugar
  • 4 small lemons, halved, preferably organic
  • 2 small navel oranges, halved, preferably organic
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 star anise
  • Two 2-inch (5-cm) pieces ginger root, peeled
  • 4 cups (946 ml) moonshine (or substitute unflavored vodka)
  • 4 apples, unpeeled and quartered (any variety), preferably organic


  • 1. In a 2-gallon (7.6-liter) pot, bring the cider, sugar, lemons, oranges, spices, and ginger to a gentle boil. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • 2. Take the pot off the heat and let it cool completely. Stir in the moonshine and the apples. Cover and let it sit overnight at room temperature.
  • 3. The next day, remove and discard the citrus. Take a nip and, if a stronger spice flavor is desired, leave the spices in the moonshine; otherwise, strain them out. Transfer the apple pie moonshine to 1-quart Mason jars with lids wide enough to contain the apples. Screw on the lids and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve or gift your apple pie moonshine. (If you can, put this apple pie moonshine together ahead of time and let it mellow in the fridge for a week.)
  • 4. Serve chilled over ice.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Hey, there. Just a reminder that all our content is copyright protected. Like a photo? Please don't use it without our written permission. Like a recipe? Kindly contact the publisher listed above for permission before you post it (that's what we did) and rewrite it in your own words. That's the law, kids. And don't forget to link back to this page, where you found it. Thanks!

Recipe Testers Reviews

Lisa Ward

Nov 23, 2016

This apple pie moonshine is a highly flavorful spiced cider with a kick! It was a delicious addition to a friend's Halloween party. I thought the taste of the final product was delicious, and so did many of the partygoers. However, many partygoers found the smell of the drink too overwhelming. Even though the moonshine constituted only a fifth of the overall mixture, the moonshine smell is very strong. I've never used or drank moonshine before, so I don't know if another brand would have less of an aroma that would pair better in this drink. Since I was taking the drink to a party, I bought Martinelli's cider and repurposed to glass jug to transport the cider. This means I left the apples out for the party presentation because they wouldn't fit in the opening of the jug. For the rest that wouldn't fit in the jug, I put all the apples in two pint jars and poured the remaining liquid over them. I strained all the spices because the mixture was perfectly spiced after steeping it overnight. I let the cider cool for the most part at room temp, but when it was still slightly warm I put it in the fridge for a half hour to speed the process. I used Gala apples and Palmetto White Lightning Moonshine.

Mary Joan L.

Nov 23, 2016

Although I was a little apprehensive to work with moonshine, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of this recipe and look forward to taking daily nips until its gone. The apple cider, citrus, and spices make this moonshine a pleasant but still strong cocktail. I look forward to serving it as our signature drink to our Thanksgiving crowd. A great make-ahead cocktail. I cut the recipe in half and filled nearly 3 (regular mouth) quart Mason jars. A 2-ounce serving over ice would yield 40 drinks. I used Midnight Moon Moonshine by Junior Johnson’s and Granny Smith apples. While making the recipe, I questioned whether I should turn all the citrus cut side down for the overnight soak (I did). Also, after quartering the apples, I automatically cored them but probably could have left the core in and saved a step. I strained the moonshine and cider mixture through a colander with holes small enough to catch the citrus seeds and whole cloves. I divided the apples among the 3 jars and put a cinnamon stick and star anise in each of 2 jars to see if the spice increases with time. I also questioned whether I should give the citrus a squeeze to release the juices after the overnight soak. I did and mixed the juice in with the moonshine mixture.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe?
Let us know what you think.