This easy bourbon apple cider cocktail recipe is the perfect drink for Fall. Served either hot or cold, this boozy apple cider drink is a great cocktail for a crowd.
This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated for content.
Fall is by far my favorite season. I love all the smells, flavors and activities that come with this time of year. This delicious apple cider cocktail is made with simple ingredients, but perfectly spiced to give you all of those warm, fuzzy fall feelings!
This cozy cocktail is a great recipe for trick or treating, a fall gathering or also a Halloween party this fall season. Serve with a caramel apple bar, pepperoni pizza dip and a big pot of three bean chili.
If you are a bourbon drinker, then make sure you check out my list for the 9 best Halloween drinks made with bourbon!
🍎 Ingredient notes
- Apple Cider - I love using real apple cider vs. apple juice for this Fall cocktail. Cider is unfiltered and has a more complex flavor to it. Apple juice, however, is filtered and has a sweeter, more straight forward flavor. Depending on availability and your preference, either can be used.
- Bourbon - The addition of bourbon whiskey is a great pairing to the apple cider in this easy recipe. It's a bit sweeter than regular whiskey so it's works nicely for this cocktail. You don't need to use an expensive bourbon, but whatever kind of bourbon that you like will work well.
📋 Substitutions and variations
- Non-Alcoholic - To make a non-alcoholic apple cider drink, simply omit the bourbon and then replace it with extra apple cider.
- For a Crowd - Double or triple this recipe to make a large batch of this bourbon cocktail. Serve the warm cocktail in a slow cooker, garnished with cinnamon sticks or the cold version in a large beverage pitcher garnished with fresh apple slices or orange slices.
🥃 Step by step instructions
First, combine the fresh apple cider with the orange juice, lemon juice and spices in a small saucepan on the stovetop.
Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and then stir in the bourbon and honey.
Serve the mixed drink warm in a mug, garnished with a cinnamon stick. For a cold apple cider cocktail, cool the mixture and then serve over ice, garnished with fresh apple slices or orange slices.
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⭐ Expert tips
- Add the honey and bourbon off of heat. The honey can create a bitter taste when boiled and the alcohol will cook off.
- When serving this drink cold, make sure to cool it completely before serving it over ice. If not, the heat from the drink will melt the ice quickly and then water down the drinks.
🥘 Alternative cooking methods
Slow Cooker - Combine the cider, juices and spices in a slow cooker and then cook on low for 2 hours. Stir in the honey and the bourbon and set to the warm setting for serving.
⏲️ Make ahead and storage instructions
Making this apple cider bourbon cocktail in advance is a great way to save time when hosting a get together. The cider, juices and spices can be mixed up to 24 hours ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Heat the ingredients up on the stovetop per the instructions and then mix in the bourbon and honey.
If you are serving this drink cold, make and cool the cocktail and store it in the refrigerator up to 24 hours in advance.
For a quick overview of this recipe, check out my web story for this boozy bourbon apple cider cocktail!
🥂 More cocktail recipes
If you loved this easy bourbon apple cider cocktail recipe, check out these other delicious cocktail recipes that I know you will love too!
- Rossini Cocktail
- Whiskey Blood Orange Smash
- Cranberry Moscow Mule
- Grapefruit Cocktail with Elderflower
Easy Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail Recipe (Hot or Cold)
- 3 cups apple cider
- ½ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup lemon juice approximately 1 ½ - 2 lemons
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 6 ounces bourbon whiskey
- ¼ cup honey
- Combine apple cider, orange juice, lemon juice, nutmeg and one of the cinnamon sticks in a medium size pot on the stovetop.
- Heat the mixture over medium high heat until it just begins to boil, then lower the heat to medium low and allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the bourbon and the honey.
- Serve the drink warm in a mug garnished with a cinnamon stick or cool the mixture completely and serve in a glass over ice.
- Apple Cider - Apple cider has more complex flavor since it's unfiltered. Apple juice is filtered will have a sweeter flavor. Either can be used.
- Bourbon - Bourbon whiskey pairs perfectly with apple cider. It's a bit sweeter than regular whiskey. You don't need to use an expensive bourbon, but your favorite kind will work.
- Non-Alcoholic - Omit the bourbon and replace with extra apple cider.
- For a Crowd - Double or triple the recipe and serve in a slow cooker to keep it warm. For a cold version of this drink, serve it out of a large beverage pitcher.
- Slow Cooker - To cook the drink in a slow cooker, combine the cider, juices and spices in a slow cooker and cook on low for 2 hours. Stir in the honey and the bourbon and set to the warm setting for serving.
- Make Ahead - Mix the cider, juices and spices can be mixed up to 24 hours ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Follow the instructions for heating and adding the remaining ingredients as directed. For the cold version, make and cool the cocktail and store in the refrigerator up to 24 hours in advance.