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This apple cider cocktail pairs sweet cider with bourbon and lemon! It’s full flavored and easy to make, the ideal fall or winter drink.

Apple Cider Cocktail
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Looking for a drink that exudes all the fall and winter vibes? Try this Apple Cider Cocktail! Cider pairs perfectly with sweet and spicy bourbon in this sophisticated drink. It’s got a hint of lemon and a surprise ingredient that rounds out the flavors into a meld that’s intriguing, complex and highly drinkable! It’s so tasty, it’s become a repeat we return to each fall and winter.

What’s in this apple cider cocktail?

Many of our cocktail recipes are based on standard great cocktail recipes that have stood the test of time, like the whiskey sour or Manhattan. But when it comes to an apple cider cocktail, there’s no one way to make cider shine in a mixed drink! This one is interesting and complex, not too sweet, perfectly highlighting apple cider while giving you all the cozy feelings of fall and winter. Here are the ingredients in this apple cider cocktail:

Apple cider cocktail

The secret: sweet red vermouth!

Sweet vermouth is a little unexpected in an apple cider cocktail, but it adds just the right complexity! It’s a standard in the everyday liquor cabinet, used for everything from a Manhattan to a Negroni. It’s both dry and sweet at once, and rounds out each sip. You’ll taste the apple cider on the front end, the vermouth in the middle and the spicy bourbon on the back end.

  • Vermouth is a fortified wine, meaning that liquor has been added to stabilize it. There are two main types of vermouth: sweet (usually red) and dry (usually white). Make sure to store vermouth in the refrigerator: it stays good there for up to 3 months.
  • Sweet vermouth is subtly sweet and spicy, with a hit of bitter on the finish. It features in many classic cocktails like the NegroniAmericano, and Manhattan.
  • Dry vermouth: Dry white vermouth is used in martinis. While you won’t need it here, it features in classics like the Classic Martini and Dirty Martini.

How to make this apple cider cocktail

After you’ve gathered the ingredients, this apple cider cocktail takes only a few minutes to make. Here are the main steps:

  • Stir together all ingredients in a cocktail mixing glass. This is a classic “stirred” cocktail where you stir the ingredients instead of shaking them. Shaking dilutes the drink with ice, which would water it down too much.
  • Strain and garnish. Strain the drink into a stemmed cocktail glass. You can also get away with this drink in a low ball glass, if you’d like! It’s intended to be served without ice.
  • Don’t have a mixing glass? Use any glass or container you like to mix the drink, then strain it into the serving glass. Or, grab yourself a cocktail mixing glass. (Plus, it just looks cool.)
Apple cider cocktail

Make it for a crowd!

This apple cider cocktail is a “stirred” cocktail, which makes it easy to double, triple or quadruple for a crowd! For a shaken cocktail, you have to shake each one in a cocktail shaker. But to make this one for a crowd, simply multiply the ingredients and stir them with ice until cold.

Depending on how many drinks you’re making at once, you may need to stir it in a larger vessel like a pitcher. Then garnish and go!

Garnish with apple slices, if desired

Serving this apple cider cocktail in a casual setting? Don’t worry about a garnish! But if you’re serving it for a festive occasion, it’s all about the presentation. Here’s what to know:

  • Cut apples can brown, so spritz them with a little lemon juice. Cut apple slices can start to brown when exposed to air. To combat this, spritz them with a little acid: lemon juice is perfect. (Plus, you already have a lemon open.)
  • Fresh herbs are fun, but not required. A sprig of thyme looks lovely: rosemary would also look nice!

More apple cider cocktails

Looking for other types of apple cider cocktails? There are so many different ways to use apple cider in a mixed drink. Here are a few ideas:

When to serve an apple cider cocktail

This apple cider cocktail is perfect for cool weather! It’s great for sipping as a:

  • Fall drink
  • Winter drink
  • Signature drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
Apple cider cocktail
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Apple Cider Cocktail

Easy Apple Cider Cocktail

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4.6 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


This apple cider cocktail pairs sweet cider with bourbon and lemon! It’s full flavored and easy to make, the ideal fall or winter drink.


  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) bourbon
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) apple cider
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) sweet vermouth
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) lemon juice
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • For the garnish: Apple slices (optional), sprig of thyme


  1. Combine the bourbon, cider, sweet vermouth and lemon juice in mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain it into cocktail glass.
  2. Add a dash of orange bitters and garnish with apple slices (if desired, spritz them with a little lemon juice to prevent browning).
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

More fall drinks

This apple cider cocktail is perfect for fall! A few more great fall cocktails to try:

  • Apple Cider Slushie This apple cider slushie is so easy to make and looks stunning! With a hint of cinnamon and cloves, it’s perfectly cozy.
  • Mulled Wine Recipe Both sweet and savory and is perfect for serving at holiday parties. Make it in a slow cooker to keep it warm for hours.
  • Classic Hot Toddy A classic warming winter drink for cold weather! It’s quick and easy, made with bourbon, lemon and hot water.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Liz S says:

    This cocktail is delicious Thank you for sharing! I actually made two versions – one with Rye and the other with Bourbon – both were delicious – the Rye lighter and crisper, the Bourbon deeper and richer. We will be serving this at our Thanksgiving celebration today!

  2. Cynthia B Horen says:

    Great idea to pair the bourbon and vermouth with cider and orange! But I can only think the lemon juice quantity is a typo. Far too much! Do at least double the cider amount. I second the addition of cinnamon too. Happy autumn!

  3. Brian C says:

    We added 1/2oz cinnamon simple to it. The wife likes things in the sweeter side. Delicious!

  4. Andrea says:

    Delicious! Vermouth is a pro move here. :)

  5. Heather Hupfer says:

    The cocktail worked very well for our autumn themed dinner party. We made a larger batch that we set out in a lovely carafe, which made serving the cocktail a breeze! Also guests were able to help themselves as we had ice and a shaker at their disposal. It was a hit! Thanks for sharing.