Making Ruby Reaper Cider Mistelle

Ruby Reaper label
Ruby Reaper label

There are many different types of fortified wines. The process consists of adding spirits to wine often during fermentation to stop the process by raising the alcohol level. In my book, I talk about three main style categories for hard cider: Traditional, Adjunct, and Dessert. This last category is where this recipe fits, even though I didn’t make it with dessert in mind. Dryer fortified wines are usually served as an aperitif and sweeter fortified wines are served with dessert. There is also pommeau, which was originally made with fresh apple juice and apple brandy, calvados, mixed and aged. I extend pommeau to adding calvados to a cider to fortify it. For me, the use of apple brandy or calvados creates a pommeau while the use of other spirits fit into a broader category called a mistelle. A mistelle is a drink that is fortified with spirits or liquor.

Since I live in the Southwest of America, hot peppers are a common addition to food and also find their way into many drinks. My inspiration for this recipe was a cocktail I mixed for a party we hosted with a Mexican theme. I used my Prickly Apple Cider with some added limes, calvados infused with jalapeño, and tequila. The goal was a spicy prickly pear ciderita. I thought why not put it all in a bottle instead of needing to mix it. Instead of prickly pear, I went with organic ruby red grapefruit, lime, and some chipotle and Carolina Reaper pepper. Yes, I found a dried organic Carolina Reaper, the world’s hottest pepper, and I had to use it. This is not a cider for the faint of heart.

Ruby Reaper Bottle
Ruby Reaper Bottle

If you enjoy grapefruit, love spicy foods, and are adventurous, I recommend you giving this recipe a try. It’s the perfect pairing for spicy food like Mexican or Thai, or for our first meal, a spicy Sloppy Joes pizza! Look for that in my next pizza and cider post. Checkout the hard cider recipe for Ruby Reaper in my hard cider recipe section. Here is a direct link as well as a quick link to all my recipes.


Here are the latest hard cider recipes from Prickly Apple Cider.

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