Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktail

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

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! Unlike so many classic cocktails, this one’s got no script of what a bartender might usually do. So we got creative and make an apple cider cocktail that’s so good, we’ll be drinking it all fall and winter. Here’s how to make it!

What’s in an 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: everyone has their own idea on how to make cider shine in a mixed drink! Our goal here was simple: create a drink that’s interesting and complex, not too sweet, that highlights apple cider and gives the drinker all the cozy feelings of fall and winter. We think it hits the mark! (And we’d love to know if you agree.) Here are the ingredients in an apple cider cocktail:

  • Apple cider
  • Bourbon
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Lemon juice
  • Orange bitters
Apple cider cocktail

The secret ingredient: sweet red vermouth!

Vermouth is a standard in the everyday liquor cabinet: you’ll use it for everything from a Manhattan to a Negroni. It’s a little unexpected in an apple cider cocktail: but it adds just the right complexity! 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. What is vermouth? Here’s what to know.

  • 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, 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 together 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! Note that it’s meant 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 a different sort of apple cider cocktail? Don’t worry. We’ve got more variations! Here are a few more apple cider cocktails we love:

  • Mulled Cider or Hot Apple Cider The very best cozy drink! Infused with spices like cinnamon and cloves, you can make it in a slow cooker or on the stove.
  • Apple Cider Sangria The best fall drink! It pairs sparkling apple cider with red wine, orange and cinnamon. In a word: wow.
  • Apple Cider Mimosa The perfect winter or fall brunch cocktail! Combine cider with champagne for a festive treat.
Apple cider cocktail

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
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Apple Cider Cocktail

Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktail


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

Description

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.


Scale

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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

Keywords: Apple cider cocktail

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.
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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