It’s fall y’all! Celebrate the sunny days and chilly nights of Autumn with this delicious bourbon-forward Apple Cider Cocktail. It’s juicy, tart, and packs a delightful punch! This ideal fall cocktail is deceptively simple and comes together in minutes. Perfect for fall gatherings as it’s sure to impress!
Have you ever walked through an apple orchard on a crisp fall day? The sweet and tart aroma of tree ripened apples is a scent you won’t soon forget. Autumn baking has a similar effect. Vintage cakes like Apple Dapple Cake and easy dessert recipes like Baked Cinnamon Apples are guaranteed to make you feel all warm and cozy inside.
Apple Cider Cocktail
Every year in October we host a ‘Friendsgiving’ and each time we welcome our friends with these sensational (their words, not mine!) Apple Cider Cocktails. In fact, my husband knows this recipe so well, he doesn’t even use this cider cocktail recipe anymore.
Experience has shown us it is always a good idea to keep extra ingredients on hand because there’s always a request for a second round. Not everyone is a beer drinker, or a wine drinker but EVERYONE loves Bourbon!
Imagine the flavour of sweet and tart fresh apple cider mixed with a bit of citrus for acidity. There’s orange scented Triple Sec and fresh lemon juice to kick things up a notch. Additionally, the bourbon is so good with the apple/orange combination and even better with the warming spices in the cider.
Apple Cider vs. Apple Juice
If you are wondering whether you can make this cocktail with apple juice, I’m sorry to say it just won’t be the same. Though apple juice and apple cider are both pressed apple products, there are a few crucial differences between the two.
Apple juice is almost always a clear pale-yellow colour because it is filtered and pasteurized. It almost always contains added sugar and preservatives to give it a longer shelf life.
Apple cider is opaque brown in colour as it still contains the apple solids which have oxidized, making it murky. It may contain extra sugar but does not contain any preservatives. Apple cider has a much shorter shelf life and will begin to ferment after a few weeks once opened.
Additionally, there is also spiced apple cider which is apple cider that contains mulling spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Note: The apple cider drink in this apple cider recipe is not the same as hard cider or spiked apple cider because it does not contain alcohol.
Ingredients for this Apple Cider Cocktail Recipe
Note: Serve this cocktail chilled. Place the liquid ingredients in the fridge until it is time to mix the cocktails. This way, you’ll use less ice and have a less diluted, tastier drink.
- Apple Cider
- Lemon Juice
- Triple Sec
- Brown Sugar
Now that I’ve given you the rundown on apple juice vs. apple cider, you’ll know that apple cider is the best option for this cocktail recipe. More specifically, try to find spiced apple cider (but not hard apple cider!).
If it is unavailable, simply add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg (or other spices typically found in apple pie spice) to the cocktail shaker before shaking the cocktail.
Alternatively, feel free to use sparkling apple cider if you can find it. A bit of bubbles adds something special to these bourbon apple cocktails.
Our brown liquid of choice for this fall treat is bourbon. Use your favourite mixing bourbon, meaning don’t get too fancy but don’t use ‘bottom of the barrel’ bourbon either. A good mid-range bourbon brand is Knob Creek.
A good rule of thumb is to always use fresh lemon juice in cocktails for the best flavour. Some bartenders swear by juicing the lemons ahead of time, but it isn’t necessary to do so.
There’s a wide range of orange flavoured liqueurs on the market. I always buy Triple Sec or Cointreau, a colourless, orange-based liqueur. Both will work well in this cocktail.
Finally, there is brown sugar and granulated sugar in this recipe. The brown sugar is used to rim the cocktail glass while the granulated sugar is an ingredient (along with water) in the simple syrup.
How to Make this Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail
From garnish ingredients to cocktail equipment and getting to that final pour, here’s how to make a pair of amazing Apple Cider Cocktails.
Equipment (includes affiliate links)
For this cocktail recipe, you will need a cocktail shaker with a top strainer, two rocks glasses (or more if you are making a batch), and a plate. If you make your own simple syrup, you’ll also need a small saucepan.
How to Make Simple Syrup
To make the simple syrup, place 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil then simmer it over medium heat until all the sugar dissolves. For an added flavour boost to this spiked apple cocktail, you can add a few slices of ginger to the simple syrup.
Turn off heat and set the syrup aside to cool. Once the syrup reaches room temperature, the syrup is ready to use in a cocktail (strain out the ginger slices if added).
Note: This recipe will make enough simple syrup for 8 cocktails.
The Brown Sugar Rim and Apple Garnish
To rim the rocks glasses, start by placing 1/2 cup brown sugar on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Next, moisten the rim of a rocks cocktail glass with lemon juice or simple syrup. Swirl the glass rim in the brown sugar. Remove and dust off any excess sugar. Repeat with second glass.
To prepare the apple garnishes. Use a sharp knife to slice 3 thin apple slices. Brush the apples with a little lemon juice so they don’t oxidize and turn brown.
Arrange apple slices on a cocktail pick in a fan pattern and set aside. Alternatively, slice the tops off two apples then slide the cocktail picks through, as shown in the photos.
Fill cocktail glasses half full with fresh ice. Set aside.
Let’s Make an Apple Cider Cocktail
Fill cocktail shaker 1/3 full of ice. Pour in the simple syrup, apple cider, bourbon, freshly squeezed lemon juice and Triple Sec. Add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg, if required. Shake cocktail shaker vigorously until the outside becomes frosty.
Pour cocktail evenly between the two rocks glasses, using the strainer to catch the spent ice. Apply apple garnish or garnish with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!
Large Batch Apple Cider Cocktail
It’s so easy to scale this recipe to make a larger batch of eight cocktails. Simply place 1/2 cup simple syrup, 16 oz (2 cups) apple cider, 12 (1 1/2 cups) oz bourbon, 8 oz (1 cup) lemon juice, and 4 oz (1/2 cup) Triple Sec in a large pitcher. Stir well and pour into 8 prepared cocktail glasses.
Hi! I’m Bernice Hill and I’ve been the sole recipe developer, photographer, and writer at Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen for the past eleven years. It is my pleasure to share easy to follow recipes that are delicious, nutritious, and approachable for the whole family.
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- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar (for the rim)
- 1/2 oz Simple Syrup*
- 4 oz. Apple Cider
- 3 oz. Bourbon
- 2 oz Lemon Juice; freshly squeezed
- 1 oz. Triple Sec
- apple slices or cinnamon sticks to garnish
- Place brown sugar on a plate or in a shallow bowl.
- Moisten the rim of a rocks cocktail glass with lemon juice or simple syrup. Swirl it into the brown sugar. Repeat with second glass.
- Prepare garnishes. Arrange 3 thin apple slices on a cocktail skewer in a fan pattern or use the tops of two apples, as shown in the photos. Brush apples with a little lemon juice so they don't oxidize while you make the cocktail.
- Dust off any excess brown sugar and fill half full with fresh ice. Set glasses aside.
- Fill cocktail shaker 1/3 full of ice. Pour in the simple syrup, apple cider, bourbon, freshly squeezed lemon juice and Triple Sec. Shake cocktail shaker vigorously until the outside becomes frosty.
- Pour cocktail evenly between the two rocks glasses, using the strainer to catch the spent ice. Apply apple garnish and enjoy!
*PLUS 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water for the simple syrup.
To make the simple syrup, place 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil then simmer it over medium heat until all of the sugar dissolves.
Turn off heat and set the syrup aside to cool. Once the syrup reaches room temperature, the syrup is ready to use in a cocktail.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 303Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 24mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 3gSugar: 67gProtein: 1g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.