Best Sparkling Apple Cider: The 5 Best for Your Next Booze-Free Toast

The best sparkling apple cider is fruity, refreshing, and the perfect thing to sip when you’re celebrating something but don’t want to catch a buzz. We popped the tops off of more than a dozen bottles (and endured some foamy spillage) to find the best sparkling apple cider you can buy.

Sure, it’s easy to say this in 2022, but the Prohibition era did have some upsides. One of them: the advent of sparkling apple cider. According to John Martinelli, his apple-growing family invented the effervescent bev back when alcohol was off the menu for Americans. In the ensuing years, it’s become a holiday staple at the kids’ table and has stood in for Champagne for a century of booze-free New Year’s toasts. 

Sparkling cider should be crisp and refreshing, yeah, but it should also taste distinctly like apple. We included some fruit juice blends on this list, but left off the ones that favored the other fruit. Sparkling apple cider should be appley. These were the five best bottles of sparkling apple cider we tried during our taste test.

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best sparkling apple cider

Best of the Best

Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider

It’s been a hundred years, give or take, since Martinelli’s introduced its signature spritzer, and it’s still the best sparkling apple cider you can buy at the grocery store. Like their apple juice, this sparkling cider has a big, rich apple flavor. It’s also perfectly effervescent, with small bubbles that burst in your mouth and a nice foamy head. It still tastes and feels like a childhood special-occasion treat. If you’re pesticide conscious, Martinelli’s also makes an organic version of their sparkling cider that tastes exactly the same. Anecdotally, the organic bottle is a couple bucks more expensive, so this one ranked instead.  

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

best dry sparkling apple cider

Best Dry

Welch’s Sparkling Apple Cider

Apple cider is a real sugar bomb, so if you’re looking for something that isn’t quite as cloying, Welch’s is the best sparkling apple cider for you. This one is drier than Martinelli’s but still has a big apple flavor. For that reason, it feels just a little more sophisticated—although, I gotta say that Martinelli’s bottle of cider still looks the most sophisticated. Who can resist a gold medal on a label? I don’t even know what it’s for, but I’m sold. I digress. Despite being best known for grape juice, Welch’s nailed this apple cider. Bonus points for the twist-off cap—don’t make sober people or children search for a bottle opener!

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best sparkling apple cranberry

Best Added Fruit Flavor

Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple-Cranberry

We tried a few combos of apple cider and other fruit juices, but this was the best of them by far. Sparkling apple cider doesn’t really need additional sweetness, so the tartness of the cranberry juice just balances things out a little bit. The cranberry doesn’t overpower the apple flavor either—apple is still the star, which wasn’t the case with the peach- and grape-infused ciders we tried. This is the best sparkling apple cider if you’re looking for balance and a little something more.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best spiced sparkling apple cider

Best Spiced

RW Knudsen Sparkling Cider & Spice

I’ve died and gone to holiday heaven. As soon as you pour this spiced cider, bold seasonal aromas like cinnamon, clove, and citrus rind hit you right in the nose. And the flavor lives up to the smell. Mulled cider is a classic holiday drink, but it isn’t exactly refreshing. But when it’s carbonated and served cold, it’s a whole new ballgame. If you live in a balmier part of the country, this is the best sparkling apple cider to get you in the holiday spirit.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best sweet sparkling apple cider

Best Sweet

Martinelli’s Organic Sparkling Apple-Pomegranate

Okay, I already praised Martinelli’s Apple-Cranberry for incorporating a fruit that adds a flavor factor without adding additional sweetness, but there’s something to be said for straight-up sweetness overload too. This pomegranate-infused offering from Martinelli’s is like a childhood dream come true. It’s basically like sparkling apple cider with a dash of grenadine. Put a bottle of this on the kids’ table at Thanksgiving this year and you’ll be the cool aunt for life. 

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

Other products we tried: RW Knudsen Sparkling Crisp Apple, Trader Joe’s Sparkling Apple Cider, Nature’s Nectar Sparkling Apple Cider, Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Grape, Martinelli’s Organic Sparkling Apple Cider, Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple-Peach

Find the best sparkling apple cider at home and share with us using #SporkedTasteTest for a chance to be featured on our social pages!


About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

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