When the chill hits the air and the leaves start to turn into shades of bright yellow, muted orange, and rusty red, the first thing I crave is a cozy cocktail, full of warm spices and all the vibes. It’s right up there with bonfires and s’mores and apple cider cupcakes.
An apple cider bourbon cocktail fits the bill perfectly, with its simple ingredients and autumn spice simple syrup that I now have on hand for everything, it comes together in under 5 minutes and is perfect for sipping on fall days or around the bonfire at night.
Ingredients for this Bourbon Cider Cocktail
With just a few simple ingredients, you’ll have a tasty, fall-inspired cocktail to sip on in less than 5 minutes (YES!). That is, as long as you have the one very important ingredient ready…
- Autumn Spice Simple Syrup: this simple syrup is made with cinnamon, allspice, and coriander. It’s loaded with warm spices and is the perfect pairing in this cocktail, adding a touch of sweetness and a whole love of fall spice. It’s also quick and easy to make, but having it ready ahead of time means you’ll be ready to make this cocktail whenever!
- Apple Cider: nothing beats fresh, straight-from-the-orchard cider.
- Bourbon: isn’t it just the liquor of fall? Its deep vanilla and caramel-type flavor notes make it the perfect pairing for fall cocktails!
- Lemon Juice: the tartness of fresh lemon juice balances out this cocktail so well. Please use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best results!
How to Make an Apple Cider Cocktail
For this cocktail recipe, we’re shaking the ingredients with ice in a shaker, and then straining the concoction into a glass. This serves two purposes: it chills the cocktail while also keeping it from getting watered down from melting ice while enjoying it.
Can you serve it over ice anyway? Yes, if you prefer that, you absolutely can!
First, in a cocktail shaker or large glass or jar, add ice. Then pour in the bourbon, apple cider, simple syrup, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Give it all a stir to combine and chill, or shake it gently in a shaker, then strain it into your glass. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme for color as desired, or add in an apple slice and cinnamon stick to compliment the flavors. Or just get straight to enjoying!
What is the Best Bourbon to Use?
I recommend using a middle-range bourbon for this recipe. The flavor will come through, however, because it’s going in a mixed drink I tend to stay away from the super-good-enjoy-it-on-its-own kind of stuff.
In our house, we like to use Bulleit Bourbon. Feel free to use whichever brand of bourbon you enjoy drinking – that’s what’s most important!
Can I use Apple Juice instead of Cider?
Apple cider is raw and has no filtration, which means it’s often a little more tart than its juice counterpart. Apple juice, on the other hand, has been pasteurized and is shelf-stable; it’s generally sweeter, too.
You can use apple juice interchangeably in this recipe, just know that because apple juice is slightly sweeter than apple cider, the drink may be as well. I would recommend adding a little extra lemon juice to add balance it out if you decide to use apple juice.
Can I serve this drink hot?
Yes! This cocktail is excellent served cold or warm. You know there’s nothing better than a hot drink on a cold night sometimes.
To serve it hot, I recommend heating the cider, lemon juice, and syrup together.
You can do so in a small saucepan on the stove – or take the more lazy way and carefully heat it in intervals in the microwave. After they are heated, I would add the bourbon so the alcohol doesn’t evaporate during the heating process.
As written, this recipe has 2 ounces of alcohol, which is typically the amount that is in cocktails when you are served them. Please remember to drink responsibly!
Yes, you can absolutely make this recipe alcohol-free. Simply omit the bourbon. You can add club soda for a bubbly take on the drink, or enjoy it as flavorful cider.
Yes, you can make this for a crowd and pre-mix the ingredients. Store it in the fridge without ice and serve when you are ready.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktail
- Make the simple syrup in advance and let cool before assembling the cocktail.
- Fill a large jar or cocktail shaker with ice. Add the bourbon, apple cider, simple syrup, and lemon juice. Stir to combine, then strain the drink evenly between two serving glasses.4 ounces bourbon, 4 ounces apple cider, 1 1/2 ounces Autumn Spice Simple Syrup, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Garnish with an apple slice, cinnamon stick, or thyme sprig as desired.