Bourbon and Apple Cider Cocktail

This Bourbon and Apple Cider Cocktail with Ginger Beer is the perfect Fall libation; plus it’s so easy and delicious!

Two Glasses of Bourbon and Apple Cider Cocktail with Ginger Beer Garnished with an Apple Slice

It’s been six years since I started doing a cocktail each and every Friday and I’ve been pretty determined to keep on task. Occasionally time gets away from me but I’ve had an epiphany. Friday might not have to be the ‘be all and end all’ as long as I still share favorites like this Bourbon and Apple Cider Cocktail!

While I want to keep to a schedule, sometimes it just gets the best of me and this year, Spring and Summer gardening projects have been the culprit that waylaid my schedule and I quit fighting it. This won’t be the case every year but I desperately wanted to get some major projects completed and look forward to summer next year I’m anticipating less work and more play.

I left such a beautiful yard when I moved here in 2014; I still whine about it a bit. But while whining I’ve also been hard at work creating an ambiance here; this summer was the ‘Year of the Deck.’

I know I shared this photo before but can I just tell you how much I love this space? Every single meal; right here. I’ve doubled my outdoor space with a whole new section with an outdoor sofa but it’s this space with my grill and table that gets the most use and was worth all the hard work to get it done.

Peyton and Spot love it too…finding shade is everything in Colorado!

Covered Deck

So I’m rebooting this cocktail from half a dozen years ago but honestly, this Bourbon and Apple Cider Cocktail is one of my all time favorites and many readers missed it during the first go around. It’s simple, not too heavy and just about the perfect cocktail for Fall. New photos don’t hurt; I’ve learned so much in the half a dozen years since this was first published!

If you are a bourbon drinker, you can imagine how wonderful it is paired with apple cider. Real apple cider; try to source it if you can. You can use apple juice in a pinch but the cider is a better complement. There are legions of both food and cocktail recipes that contain the combination  of bourbon and apple cider, quite simply because the two together are fantastic.

Bourbon has a hint of sweetness to it with notes of vanilla and caramel and it can also have some spice, most often nutmeg, cinnamon and sometimes even clove. Bourbon and apple cider together…it’s not unlike an apple pie! The sweetness of bourbon with caramel notes combined with the tartness of apples makes for a match made in heaven.

I love using apple cider for cocktails; especially since realizing how amazingly easy it is to make (and how amazingly good homemade is to drink!). I made this Apple Cider Bellini too; not just perfect for a Fall brunch…I think they are a fantastic cocktail for Thanksgiving festivities!

Apples in a Basket

If you’re not into making your own cider and live in the Denver/Boulder area, I’ve had some great cider from YaYa Farm & Orchard in Longmont, Colorado. If you want to find an orchard near you for apples or cider, check out the Orange Pippin online directory.

Apple cider is really just raw, unfiltered apple juice that has not gone through any filtration to remove the course particles of pulp or sediment like the juice has. In a commercial cider mill, apples are washed, cut and ground into a mash the consistency of applesauce.

The mash is then usually wrapped in cloth and put through wooden racks of a press where the layers are squeezed and the juice is pressed out and put into refrigerated tanks before being bottled. Typically it is not pasteurized like apple juice either so it has a much shorter shelf life…and for me a much more robust flavor.

For all of the cocktails I’ve enjoyed lately with cider, this one is still my favorite. It could not be easier to prepare and the combination of flavors is spot on. The tartness of cider combined with the sweetness of bourbon all complemented with some sparkling ginger ale (or ginger beer) is really pretty perfect.

I have modified my original recipe just a bit this year; I thought a hint of maple syrup might be good and it was. I keep it light, using between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon depending on the tartness of the cider I’ve used. It’s an option but a good one!

When I had a ‘Girls Nite In’ at my house for some new neighbors the first Fall I lived here, I made this the featured drink. Amy, my neighbor across the street hesitated because she professed to not liking bourbon.

I convinced her to at least give it a taste and as a result of her leap of faith, I started her on a journey of discovery and now I’ve got a convert; it’s all about not being heavy handed with this elixir of the Gods!

One Jelly Jar Glass of Bourbon and Apple Cider Cocktail with Ginger Beer Garnished with an Apple Slice

I think Fall is finally showing itself in Colorado so this is perfect. We’ve been having late summer temps to rival those in July but today it’s cooler and only 68 degrees outside. You know when the world starts to herald the advent of Fall with many proclaiming it their favorite season I don’t get it and maybe today is a good reminder of why.

Fall in Colorado can be fickle and it seems that just when temps start to become more moderate our first snowstorm follows shortly thereafter. We might have a season called ‘Fallish’ but it’s too short and my lamenting the ending of Summer is because winter is just right around the corner.

So today, with the breeze and coolness in the air I’ll enjoy this brief moment in time with this absolutely perfect Fall libation and you need to join me.

If Amy likes it…betting you will too! Plus…want more Apple Cider Cocktails? I’ve got you covered!

More of our Favorite Apple Cider Cocktails!

PIN ‘Bourbon and Apple Cider Cocktail’

Two Glasses of Bourbon and Apple Cider Cocktail with Ginger Beer Garnished with an Apple Slice
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4.68 from 144 votes

Bourbon and Apple Cider Cocktail

The perfect fall cocktail with the flavors of apple, bourbon and ginger.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Bourbon
Calories: 483kcal
Author: Barb

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Apple Cider chilled
  • 1 ounce Bourbon
  • ½ to one tsp maple syrup optional
  • 2 ounces Ginger Beer chilled
  • Apple wedges for garnish

Instructions

  • Combine the cider, bourbon, and maple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until very cold (if serving a crowd, combine these two ingredients in a pitcher and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Strain mixture into an ice filled glass and top with the chilled ginger beer. Stir gently.
  • Garnish with an apple wedge and serve.

Notes

About that apple slice.
I love the cute star shape in the center of an apple as much as the next guy but for practicality sake, well, you have to get to the center of the apple and only get maybe two good slices. I don't advise wasting most of the apple for that effect. Simply use apple wedges instead of slices!
I've made this cocktail several times since this post and have taken to putting a rim on it with sugar and cinnamon.
Mix a combination of 2 Tablespoons of sugar with a teaspoon and a half of cinnamon on a flat plate.
Rub the edge of the glass with maple syrup or cider, and dip it in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
Proceed according to above directions.

Nutrition

Serving: 1grams | Calories: 483kcal

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158 Comments

  1. It’s also great to see examples of how to deal with these beliefs. I think it would be helpful to see more examples of this, especially for different types of irrational beliefs.

  2. 5 stars
    The bourbon and apple cider cocktail is perfect for parties. I’ve had one at a party recently and it was a hit. The recipe is simple, easy to follow, and requires very few ingredients. It’s also super fun to make at home!

  3. This recipe is life saving!!My boss came today and wanted something to eat as he had little heat of moment with wife. Thanks to you I was able to make him this bourboon apple cocktail.

  4. Hello,
    I’m Jackson, I’m a chef who loves food, I’m always interested in new foods. Bourbon and Apple Cider Cocktail is great! I just finished them tonight, taste is great and i had a great dinner with my little family. Thanks for your sharing.
    Sincerely grateful!

    1. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed them Jackson. It’s seriously my favorite drink from about the 1st of September all the way through the end of the year.

  5. Greetings from Sutton, Massachusetts.

    What a quintessential American combination- cider & bourbon!

    I’ll be skipping the ginger beer and combining my Jack Daniels with a ginger-infused cider made by Citizen Cider.
    Cheers

  6. Bourbon and Apple Cider Cocktail are awesome! I just finished it last night and the result was unexpected, my wife and daughter both liked it, which made me happy. Thanks for your recipe

  7. This is amazing and delicious recipe of cocktail to make it at home. I really like it. SO easy and quick way to cook, thank you for sharing this wonderful article.

  8. Wow, so easy and tasty apple cocktail recipe to make at home, I really enjoy this reading and great article. Thank you for sharing this article.

  9. I’m looking for some cocktail recipes for this weekend party.
    Your recipe seems easy and delicious. I’m going to try it out tonight.
    Thank you for your sharing, Barb.

  10. Wow, your recipe is so awesome. I have never known this recipe. Thanks for sharing. I will try to follow your recipe and I hope it looks delicious as your picture. I will share this recipe for my friends and my family. I think they love it too.

  11. Thank you very much. This cocktails looks awesome. I hope I could try this cocktails. I will try your recipe to make this cocktails for my family and my friends. I think they will love it. I hope you create more recipes like this. Thanks

  12. For some reason, I love cooking your recipes. It looks delicious, for sure this Bourbon and Apple Cider Cocktail is going to be on my table tonight. Thank you, for this simple yet delicious looking recipe. !!

    1. So glad you enjoyed it Emily; it is my absolute favorite bourbon cocktail and my most popular on the blog as soon as we start to see some cooler weather. Fall and apple cider are meant to be married…adding bourbon to the family was perfect!

  13. Looks great! The recipe is quite simple and easy to prepare, added to the menu for this weekend. Hope to enjoy the best Bourbon and Apple Cider Cocktail with my family. Thanks and have a nice day!

  14. Great guide! thanks you much for sharing, I did it and am waiting for trying it. I hope its taste will be good!

  15. My mom loves to enjoy cocktail so much and your recipes give me a lot useful ways to prepare the the party at the end of the weekend. Thank you so much for your sharing.

  16. I like ciders but this type in particular! I think that your recipe is very clear and easy to make – thank you very much for sharing it!

    1. No, that would not be a good substitute Melissa. Ginger Beer is not really beer at all, it’s a more ‘gingery’ version of ginger ale, so if you need to substitute, try ginger ale or worst case scenario, just a Seven-Up type soda or plain sparkling soda. Even a dry prosecco would work. But no beer. 🙂

  17. For summer tasteful drink, apple cider cocktail. Very refreshing and cooling. My dear friends love this recipe also. Please share more recipe like this. So yummy and easy to prepare. Thank you.

  18. Just made one of these and am incredibly happy! This is a perfect drink to spend a good night with friends and is a great addition to any Saturday night table! 🙂 Thanks!

      1. Ahhhh! My Haroldson apples are ready and I want to thank you so much for this delicious recipe!! I added cinnamon as a topping. I’m thinking a cinnamon sugar glass rim next time!

        1. That sounds like a fun idea Kris. You know what I love for rims? Cake decorating sugars. They are a much larger crystal so especially pretty and really add a fun crunch too. Glad you loved this; it’s truly one of my favorites.

  19. I’m drinking a Dark and Stormy at the moment. Totally different from this, of course, but kinda sorta distant cousins. Particularly if you use ginger beer in this! And I’d definitely vote for ginger beer — love the stuff.

    1. I love the stuff too although it’s still isn’t as widely available so I don’t want anybody to not drink this if they can’t find ginger beer!

      Sure, a Dark and Stormy is like a cousin right? Booze, ginger beer and fruit. 🙂

  20. Finding ginger ale here is often difficult but there are truckloads of ginger beer. The Sunshine Coast grows more ginger than just about anywhere else in the world and ginger beer is the go.

    We also can’t buy apple cider in the store. I bought some unfiltered apple juice today that I’m reducing to a syrup for a recipe but the juice was sweeter than any cider I’ve ever tasted.

    Your cocktail looks very refreshing!

    1. Ginger beer would be fantastic too. Know what I do for apple cider for a cocktail? I put a couple of apples into the food processor or blender and then strain it through cheesecloth; best apple cider ever! So do homemade cider and ginger beer with the bourbon. Divine I tell ya. 🙂

  21. Being from a southern family that would find any excuse to find clever ways to drink bourbon ;-P … I’ve heard this called everything from a Missouri Mule (play off of Moscow mules especially if served in chilled copper mugs) to Apple Jack to a Tennessee Kicker … if you want to zip this up a bit … the comments about finding a good ‘ginger ale’ … I would suggest any good ‘ginger beer’ (more ginger less corn syrup) also add a dash of Angostura bitters and a dash of lime juice and garnish with a bit of mint. If you want to get really fancy Add your ingredients … apple cider, angostura bitter, lime juice and a teaspoon of confectioners sugar to a shaker with ice … put your bourbon in the glass, shake well (the sugar will add a sweet froth to the top of your cocktail) pour enough to fill your cocktail glass halfway up then add a dash of the ginger beer for carbonation and ginger flavor and then top the drink off with the rest so it’s got a nice foamy top. Garnish as you wish, I prefer the preceding garnish with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice but the apple slice is nice as well. Enjoy.

    1. Those changes all sound great but then it’s a totally different cocktail isn’t it? I love that this one is simple with readily available ingredients especially when I’m serving a crowd.

      I do love ginger beer but even in a city the size of Denver it’s another trip to a specialty store. I have a lot of readers that can’t even find it! A shame isn’t it…it’s definitely got the ginger kick a cocktail like this benefits from.

      1. That’s a shame about ginger beer … Stolichnaya has their own brand that many liquor stores carry, especially now that the Moscow Mule has made a trendy comeback. Crabbie’s is the only one I know of that is an actual ginger beer (brewed and alcoholic) most are not … Reed’s ‘Extra’ Ginger beer should be a good substitute and I have found it at Marczyk’s when picking up food on the way thru town from the airport to skiing as well as a couple of markets up at Breckenridge and around Vail (can’t remember which ones). Crabbies shouldn’t be too difficult to find I live in Minneapolis where our liquor store laws are a bit repressive (ie closed on Sunday’s and by 10 PM weekdays and are required to be in separate stores not in supermarkets, etc) and it is readily available in liquor stores here around town. You just have to remember to pick it up while getting your bourbon. Your point is still an important one IMHO in that it makes a difference when making a cocktail to use a ginger beer or ginger brew over regular ginger ale. As for the other being a different cocktail well sure … variety is the spice of life but then again grandma never mixed her bourbon with anything other than the hard cider too 😀 I’m thinking of having one later today in fact! LOL

        1. I’ve not seen that Kevin; I’ll have to keep my eyes open. I’m totally sold on ginger beer though and happy it’s being sold at more and more locations. I used to have to travel to a Cost Plus World Market…guess it was considered exotic? 🙂

    1. That would be good; for the longest time I thought Ginger Beer was beer and avoided but now that I know? LOVE it.

  22. Hi Barb! Love this cocktail (although I’m sorry to hear about your car). We serve a cocktail called a Cider Smash every Halloween, which is cider and bourbon, but I really like the idea of adding ginger. We have some fantastic local ginger beer that I think would work well so will be trying this soon!

  23. Hi Barb,I’m back in my hemisphere now (it’s 3.30am here – jet lag strikes) and I love the sound of this one, even though it’s spring here, but have a few questions for you.
    Is the apple cider you have used in this an alcoholic one, or simply unfiltered apple juice?
    What is the difference between ginger ale and ginger beer – I think they’re pretty much the same down here?
    And is the type of bourbon you used important, or would JD do?
    Cheers!

    1. Non alcoholic apple cider. We call the alcohol version Hard Cider. I found this site with info on difference but for me? The Ginger Beer is a bit stronger. I like it but it’s not at the grocery so I just used plain old ginger ale last night. I actually prefer something with a bit more ginger taste so might try the beer next time.

      Amy bourbon you have is perfect! 🙂

    1. We’ve had such a wonderful summer I would easily go straight to spring if possible but balmy fall sounds good. It’s just that winter business that follows; at least for those of us who know winter. I’ll come stay with you. 🙂

  24. This cocktail is as close to perfect as it can get. 🙂 Cider, ginger ale, bourbon…yeppers, this is delicious! It was almost 100 degrees here but your cocktail helped me daydream that Autumn weather just might get here eventually. 🙂 I am hoping Sonic will let me buy a bag of their ice the next time I am there…love those ice pellets!

    1. I know! They get me hooked during winter and then say ‘no, no’ during summer. So not fair but I’ll be by there today…need my Sonic ice! 🙂

    1. I have a friend who is also ‘not a bourbon drinker’ Katherine who has in fact enjoyed some of my cocktails. It’s using a light hand that counts and then it a wonderful, sweet, rich presence!

  25. Good drink, and I love the combo of bourbon and apples. Dark rum and apples works, too. Sorry about your car. We don’t drive often, so I’m wondering a bit about our battery. But I do have one of those charger thingies you plug in the wall, so one hopes we can at least get it started if it dies.

    1. Who knew that not using it as much was bad and with my ‘new’ sort of car last week that was the death knell as it sat for 8 days without being used. I have AAA and friends with batteries but it was the $100 I cried over. 🙂

  26. We will have a neighbours barbecue party next weekend and this seems like a perfect drink to serve, cheap but also very strong enough to make you want to party hard! I was wondering how long ahead can I make this drink because I need to plan ahead and the party in 7 days.

    1. You can combine the bourbon and cider a couple of days ahead of time but you’ll have to wait until you serve it to include the ginger ale or it will lose the fizz!

    1. So glad you enjoyed it and thanks for taking the time to comment…knowing people are making my recipes and enjoying them? Well, that’s what it’s all about!

  27. I made this for an event night, as a special cocktail, only I used Martinelli’s sparkling cider. Mixed it all together in the parts you have in the recipe, in a shaker with some ice, and then poured it over ice with a lemon twist. Went over big!

    1. Great idea Rina including the twist. The apple slice is cute but to get them? Maybe 4 max from each apple? Lemon twist would be pretty and just a bit more realistic for a crowd!

  28. Great cocktail, Barb. I have good friends who are bourbon freaks. The last couple of times, I just let them help themselves to bourbon on the rocks. NEXT time, I’m making them drink something “seasonally relevant” like this.

    I prefer cider over juice. More depth!!

    [K]

    1. It’s a keeper Jen…and I think I could use one right about now too and it’s hours after you said the same. You know…an elixir to help me sleep!

    1. I have a fireplace; guess it means hopping on a plane. I have the rooms too. BB could have a B&B if she wanted to!

  29. Not sure what your criteria is for Happy Hour Friday, but I’ve added a Washington Apple Martini from last year. I write an occasional Thirsty Thursday post. Your apple cider and bourbon cocktail looks delicious!

    1. My criteria is pretty simple…I don’t care what the date is so much as that it’s a season addition to the list…so your addition is perfect. Certainly visit after any of your Thirty Thursday and add it…cocktail or appetizer!

    1. Thanks Nelly…fresh apple cider is so good I could have easily finished off that half gallon in one day I think. Glad I saved it for a cocktail or two.

  30. This looks amazing. Would you consider posting the recipe at Everything2.com? We’re running a quest for autumn-themed write-ups right now and your cocktail would be a wonderful addition!

  31. I really hope I can find a bottle of Makers Mark tomorrow!
    What a lovely recipe Barb and the photos of the apples are just beautiful!
    Have a lovely weekend…

    1. Thanks Mona…I squirrel the Maker’s Mark away for real drinks like this. I love how smooth it is and can not deny, I love their bottle too.

    1. Glad you could join me Shulie…and don’t forget you can add an appetizer too. We need something to eat with our cocktails!

  32. We had our first taste of fall this week – RAIN!! It was just a teaser though – supposed to get back up towards 80 this weekend (sigh…). This to me is the perfect fall cocktail – it has a short list of ingredients and embodies everything I LOVE about fall!! One of these days, hope we will get to enjoy one of these cocktails together in person!!

    1. The temps have dropped today and we are getting SNOW! Not much but still…snow. Brrrrr!! And yes, one day, sipping together has to be on the agenda.

  33. You are right that somehow bourbon and apple cider just scream autumn!! Which is, of course, my favorite season. I miss american apple cider! This drink looks so delicious… and would so work at an apple-picking or pumpkin carving party, wouldn’t it?

    1. Would be perfect! You know…apple cider is not all that hard to make…you should try it and then of course call it ‘French Apple Cider’ and we would all presume it has some magical quality to it like we do all things French.

  34. You are going to have to write a book on these beautiful cocktails you are creating, if not for the stunning photographs alone! Another great drink Barb and again, so beautifully photographed.

    1. Thanks Paula…someone else said the same to me on Twitter and I must say…that might be a book I could wrap my arms around. I would be sloshed everyday though from trials!

    1. Cheers Deb! Just find good ginger ale; most of the stuff in cans is almost indistinguishable from 7-up; you really want that bit of ginger in there.

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