CranApple Sparkling Cider

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It’s the holiday season, which means enjoying all of those cozy and comforting family favorites from passed down recipes to festive drinks! Sharing holiday drinks can be a fun way to connect with family and friends whether in person or virtually. I love a refreshing mocktail made with seasonal flavors, especially during the holidays. They are great to sip on when watching a holiday movie or to make weekday dinners feel a little more jolly! However you like to enjoy your drinks, one of the best ways to elevate them is through using bitters!

Glass of cranberry apple cider with Watkin's bitters in background.

What Are Bitters?

Bitters are small bottles of spirits that are infused with herbs, spices, fruit and other botanicals and are used to enhance the flavor of drinks. Depending on the alcohol percentage as well as the ingredients found in the bitters, they can be used to flavor a wide range of recipes.

How To Use Bitters 

Since each recipe uses only a couple of drops, bitters can be used in a variety of recipes such as cocktails or non-alcoholic beverages like mocktails or sparkling water. While this is the most common use for bitters, some other creative ways to use bitters are in baked goods, ice cream, fruit salad, coffee, marinades or infused in things like honey.

Health Benefits of Bitters

While bitters are mainly used to enhance flavor, some bitters can also be consumed to help with indigestion, bloating and gas. Herbs, spices and barks found in aromatic bitters may aid in reducing inflammation and support immune health. Watkins Aromatic Bitters  and Watkins Orange Bitters contain some of these incredible natural ingredients such as orange peel, black walnut leaf and gentian root, just to name a few!

Glass of Watkin's bitters with cider in the background.

In addition to Watkins Bitters, here are some of the health benefits of two key ingredients in our CranApple Sparkling Cider recipe!

Health Benefits of Apples

Did you know that apples contain prebiotic fiber? Fiber is essential for gut health. Prebiotic fiber is what your good gut bacteria likes to eat and thrive on. Supporting your gut bacteria leads to the release of short-chain fatty acids into the body, which may help with a variety of things from healing your gut, lowering inflammation and reducing the risk of chronic disease. Add more apples to your day whether you bake, dip or bite right in! While the fiber is lost when making apple juice, apple cider retains a small amount, because it is unfiltered. In addition, apple cider still contains antioxidants! These plant compounds are incredible at protecting cells from harmful free radicals, which may lead to chronic diseases over time.

Health Benefits of Cranberries

Cranberries are a rich source of vitamin C! While vitamin C is important for immunity, it also protects your cells from free radicals which are molecules that may lead to health problems over time such as heart disease or cancer. Vitamin C also enhances the production of collagen which is important for skin health!

Sparkling cider with cranberry skewers.

CranApple Sparkling Cider

Print Recipe


  • ½ cup ice
  • 6 ounces apple cider
  • 4 ounces cranberry juice
  • 6 ounces sparkling water ½ a can
  • 2-3 splashes Watkins Aromatic Bitters


  • Whole cranberries
  • Bamboo skewers


  • Carefully stick cranberries onto a bamboo skewer.
  • Add ice to a 20 ounce glass.
  • Pour in apple cider and cranberry juice, then top with sparkling water.
  • Add 2-3 splashes of Watkins Aromatic Bitters.
  • Gently stir with cranberry skewer and enjoy!


  • To turn this mocktail into a cocktail, simply swap the apple cider for "Hard" apple cider, and drink responsibly.
Servings: 1
Author: Healthy Grocery Girl

Watkin's bitters poured into holiday drink.

Megan holding holiday drink with Watkin's bitters.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Watkins

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