When it comes to fall, there are a few things that are synonymous with this time of year. While some may think of apple picking, pumpkin spice lattes, or even crunchy colorful leaves on the ground (bonus points if there's a cute puppy running into the pile), I, on the other hand, try to do two things every fall: 1) an annual celebration of Chris Evans in a cozy sweater from Knives Out, and 2) get cozy and sip some apple cider (either with or without alcohol).
But first, let's do a quick refresher on apple cider. Basically, it's a drink that's usually served warm and makes an appearance around the fall time in America. And while there are hundreds of ways to make this delicious beverage, the main ingredients usually consist of apples, cinnamon, whole cloves, allspice, and sugar. And unlike apple juice, it is unfiltered and usually unpasteurized.
But since Spindrift has a Spiked Sparkling Water Spiced Apple Cider ready for me to drink — which is made with crushed apples, cinnamon, and alcohol from fermented cane sugar — I figured why get any dishes dirty when I can just pop open a can and call it a day. The drink is 4% alcohol by volume, or slightly less than the average beer (5%).
So after receiving an eight-pack precisely for this taste test, I popped one open and first took a sniff directly from the can and was instantly met with an authentic apple juice aroma (aka no artificial "natural flavors" in this, folks) — so I was excited to dive right in and take a sip.
After my first sip, I honestly... wasn't sure what to make of it. I got a wave of real apples — which was absolutely amazing and almost nostalgia-like (especially if you grew up having a lot of apple juice as a kid) — but I was instantly met with bubbles afterward with no cinnamon spice flavor. After taking the second sip is when I noticed the very, very tiny notes of cinnamon.
I will say the lack of sugar (it only has 3g) made the drink more refreshing, but I'm not sure if "refreshing" is something I'm looking for during the fall time — unless I'm living back in Florida and want to pretend it's 50 degrees outside while I sit on my porch.
Unfortunately, though, I still felt like something was missing flavor-wise. So to make sure all of the apple puree wasn't sitting at the bottom of the can, I poured the entire can into a glass.
I will say, drinking it from a glass was a way better experience. I got way more of the fresh apple taste. It felt like little apples were dancing on my tongue since the bubble and apple ratio was more even. But even though the drink felt more "balanced," the lack of cinnamon, and other spices that ciders are known for left me wanting more.
But since I didn't want to break up with this cocktail just yet, I tried to do some DIY to see if I could make this drink a little more "cozier." That meant: Heat. It. Up. And. Add. Some. Cinnamon.
After simmering the drink on low for a few minutes and adding a stick of cinnamon that I magically still had in the house, I poured this bad boy into a "cozy" cup and immediately smelled a rush of fresh apples just like an OG cider. But after a taste, I immediately regretted my decision.
I will say though, mama was getting a buzz after sipping one can — but, to be honest, I actually don't drink that often, so warning: ~buzz results~ may vary per person!
FINAL VERDICT: I give it two-and-a-half apples out of 5.
However, if you do buy this drink, here's how I recommend to drink it to get the best flavor possible:
Want to give this Spindrift Spiked Spiced Apple Cider a try? You can use their store locator here. An 8-pack has a retail price of $17.99. If you try it, tell me what you think in the comments below!
Spindrift provided their Spiked Spiced Apple Cider free of charge for the purposes of this test, but BuzzFeed was under no obligation to provide a positive review.