Toast the season with a glass of these Bourbon Apple Cider Drinks. Fresh apple cider makes these the perfect fall cocktails!
It’s apple season!
That means two things: chilly fall temperatures and tasty apple cider cocktails!
Since we can’t do much about the cold, let’s make the most of the changing seasons by toasting the fall colors with a glass of these Bourbon Apple Cider Drinks.
A handful of ingredients combine to make these truly crave-worthy apple cider cocktails:
- Applejack (I used Laird’s Applejack)
- Fresh apple cider
- Fresh lemon juice
- Angostura bitters
- Thyme-infused simple syrup (sugar, water & fresh thyme)
Tip: I usually make the simple syrup a few days in advance and keep it in the fridge until I’m ready to use it to make cocktail hour even easier. Check out our quick & easy guide for how to make simple syrup.
The only prep work for this drink is making the thyme-infused simple syrup. And that couldn't be easier:
- Add equal parts sugar and water to a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until dissolved. Remove from heat, add thyme and steep for 15-20 minutes. Cool, strain and refrigerate.
- When ready to enjoy your drink, fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the bourbon, applejack, apple cider, lemon juice, bitters and simple syrup. Shake vigorously.
- Strain into ice-filled glass. Garnish with apple slices and/or thyme sprigs, if desired.
Tip: No time to make the thyme-infused syrup? No worries. Use regular simple syrup in its place. It will still taste great!
The short answer is no, I don’t recommend swapping in traditional, clear apple juice for apple cider here.
Apple juice is typically sweeter than fresh apple cider because of added sugar or corn syrup so the resulting cocktail will be far too sweet.
If you absolutely cannot find fresh apple cider, you can try using the Simply Apple Pure Pressed Apple Juice and decrease the amount of simple syrup if needed. The cocktail won’t taste quite the same, but it will be much closer than if you tried to use regular apple juice.
That's easy - your favorite! A good cocktail is one you like to drink, so pick a bourbon you love. You can also use whiskey if you prefer.
Ready for a short history lesson? Early American colonists wanted something a little stronger than just hard apple cider, so they left barrels of hard cider outside to freeze. This process was called “jacking” because it allowed them to separate the unfrozen alcohol from the ice in the barrels. The result was a higher proof “applejack”.
Today’s version of applejack has evolved to become a blended version of apple brandy and other neutral grain spirits. The result is a mellower flavor than pure apple brandy and is a fantastic complement to the bourbon in these fall cider cocktails.
- This drink is best served cold over ice. If you’re looking for a warm apple cider and whiskey cocktail, check out our Hot Ginger Cider Cocktails made with bourbon and ginger liqueur.
- Hosting a crowd? These drinks can easily be multiplied as a batch cocktail for your guests (I highly recommend adding these to your Thanksgiving menu!). Or tuck a few into a thermos the next time you tailgate for the big game along with a container of our crazy popular Layered Greek Dip.
However you enjoy them, these Bourbon Apple Cider Drinks have all the markings of a great cocktail - simple, seasonal and delicious.
More fall cocktails
- Our Apple Cider Sangria is our go-to drink after a long afternoon of leaf raking. Great batch cocktail for groups, too!
- I usually only drink mojitos during hot weather, but these Apple Cider Mojitos seem like the perfect bridge to mojito-drinking during the fall.
- Never tried Aperol? These Bourbon Aperol Cocktails are always on our Thanksgiving happy hour menu. Bright, a bit bubbly and beautifully vibrant, these drinks are definitely worth your time!
- Break out the pitcher for these gorgeous Whiskey Sour recipe made with cranberry juice. No holiday gathering should be without them.
- Prefer to drink your dessert? This decadent Chocolate Martini recipe is our favorite dessert cocktail. It's the best "chocolate milk" for adults!
Looking for more drink inspo? Don't miss our archives filled with tasty Cocktail Recipes!
Bourbon Apple Cider Drinks
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 1 ounce applejack I used Laird's Applejack
- 1 ounce fresh apple cider
- ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
- ½ ounce thyme-infused simple syrup see instructions in notes below
- Dash Angostura bitters
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add bourbon, applejack, apple cider, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters. Shake vigorously.
- Strain into ice-filled glasses and garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and apple slices, if desired.
To make the thyme-infused simple syrup:
- Combine sugar and water in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add 4 sprigs of fresh thyme. Allow to steep for 15-20 minutes.
- Strain and refrigerate until ready to use.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.
Don't forget the fresh apple cider when you go apple picking so you can make a batch of these Bourbon Apple Cider Drinks. This is the perfect fall cocktail recipe to toast the season. Perfect for any event from tailgating to Thanksgiving!