In an empty one-gallon ice cream pail, combine the apple cider and brandy. Place in the freezer and chill at least 8 hours, overnight, or up to a month in advance.
Remove from freezer 1 – 2 hours before serving. As the slush melts, it will become easier to scrape and serve.
To serve, add 1 cup slush to a glass (a ladle works well). Top with sparkling water or hard cider, as desired.
Apple cider: You'll use kid-friendly, classic apple cider in the slush base. Then as a fizzy finish, I call for topping off each glass with a splash of sparkling hard cider (Angry Orchard, Virtue, and Strongbow tend to be widely-available across America). You can also opt for sparkling water as the final element instead of the hard cider, if desired.
Brandy: This distilled wine is often sipped as a digestif after meals, and has between 35% and 60% alcohol by volume. That alcohol will keep the Brandy Apple Cider Slush recipe from freezing rock hard (while adding some good spirit to your party).
Yield: This recipe makes 12 (1-cup servings), ideal for parties or for the adults to enjoy after dinner over a few fall weekends.
Make ahead: Feel free to stir together and freeze this slush recipe up to 1 month in advance, then store in the freezer until you're ready to slightly thaw and scoop.