Every fall during peak apple harvest season, fresh apple cider reappears on grocery store shelves for a brief, beautiful moment. The crisp and refreshing drink is an autumnal staple perfect on its own, in desserts, or in boozy, spiced cocktails (yes, hard cider, too!). Keep warm as the weather shifts with these dangerously good apple cider cocktails.
Mimosas are the boozy gifts that keep on giving year-round. Bubbly champagne and sweet fruit juices combine to make a cocktail as perfect for breakfast as it is a late-night happy hour. Diced apples and whole cranberries add a flavorful, seasonal touch in these Harvest Mimosas.
- Sugar and cinnamon for coating the glass rims
- 1 64 oz. bottle of cranberry juice
- 1/2 gallon apple cider
- 1 bottle prosecco (sub: champagne or sparkling white wine)
- 1 apple, 1/2 diced and 1/2 sliced (for garnish)
- 1 package whole cranberries
- Combine cinnamon and sugar on a plate; coat the rim of your glasses with mixture.
- In a large pitcher or carafe, stir together the cranberry juice, apple cider, and prosecco.
- Pour into glass and top with a few cranberries and diced apple pieces. Garnish with an apple slice.
Poisoned Apple Cider Cocktail
I don’t know about you, but the coolest part of the original Snow White was easily when the evil queen transforms into the witch (if you’ve happened to forget how insanely awesome this 1930’s animation was, let us remind you). You can recreate the dark, eerie, swirling concoction the sorceress drinks without turning into an old crone using this recipe.
- 4 oz. apple cider
- 1.5 oz. spiced rum
- 1.5 oz. pomegranate juice (sub: cranberry or tart cherry juice)
- 3/4 oz. grenadine
- 1/4 tsp. edible luster dust (sub: 1 oz. Ruby Viniq liqueur — this will increase the alcoholic content and overall sweetness of your drink!)
- Add ice to a cocktail shaker, add ingredients, cover, and shake. Pour into your evil goblet (a glass works, too).
Warm Mulled Wine
Apple cider is mouthwateringly crisp and refreshing when cold, but served warm, it transforms into an oh, so cozy and wintry-spiced masterpiece. This mulled wine recipe does require a little longer cook time, but we guarantee it’s worth the wait.
- 2 750 mL bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon (sub: Merlot, Zinfandel, or a dry red blend)
- 1/4 C brandy
- 1/4 C honey (sub: agave nectar)
- 1/3 C granulated sugar
- 8-10 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 orange peel for garnish
- In a slow cooker, mix the wine, brandy, honey, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Simmer on low for 45-60 minutes until warm (make sure not to reach a boil, as this may boil off the alcohol).
- Ladle into mugs and garnish with orange peels.
Pumpkin and Apple Cider Fizz
If you were looking for what to do with that extra can of pumpkin puree you bought as a just-incase-the-pie-burns back-up, here it is. This pumpkin and apple cider fizz is a deliciously cozy combination of spicy pumpkin puree, vanilla vodka, apple cider, and ginger beer. It’s like someone shoved the entire season of autumn into your glass. Yum.
- 1.5 oz pumpkin puree
- 1.5 oz vanilla vodka
- 2 oz. apple cider
- 1.5 oz. ginger beer
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add the pumpkin puree, vanilla vodka, and apple cider. Shake vigorously until well chilled.
- Strain into a glass filled with ice. Top off with ginger beer.
The traditional mule has become such a bar staple that the original recipe has branched off into Kentucky mules (made with bourbon), Mexican mules (made with tequila), and so on. Here, we have the Icelandic mule, made with dangerously smooth Reyka vodka, ginger beer, apple cider, and a touch of simple syrup — a delicious take on a classic.
- 2 parts Reyka vodka (sub: any vodka at your desired proof will work!)
- 1 part ginger beer
- 2 parts apple cider
- Simple syrup to taste
- Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, except ginger beer. Shake, add simple syrup to taste, shake again, and strain into a mule glass.
- Top off with ginger beer. Optional: garnish with a cinnamon stick and/or apple slice.
Apple Cider Old Fashioned
Speaking of classics, Recipe Runner uses apple cider and puts a bold twist on an Old Fashioned with this recipe. The cider does add a significant amount of sweetness to the traditionally stout, bourbon-based cocktail. If you’re looking for something that’s still going to put a little hair on your chest, adjust your cider to bourbon ratio accordingly.
- 1/2 C apple cider
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 3 drops of bitters
- 1 orange slice
- 1 apple slice
- Cinnamon stick
- In a lowball glass, stir together the cider, bourbon, syrup, and bitters until combined.
- Add in a large ice cub, and top with an apple and orange slice and a cinnamon stick.
Apple Cider Sangria
Sangria isn’t just for hot summer days. Apple cider and sweet white wine combine to make a mouthwateringly fruity and light sangria. Boasting traditional harvest flavors like orange, cinnamon, and cranberry, this apple cider sangria is as crisp and cool as a sunny fall afternoon.
- 2 apples
- 1 orange
- 1/2 C whole cranberries
- 1 750 mL bottle of Pinot Grigio or Moscato
- 1/2 C vodka
- 4 C apple cider
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ginger
- 1 C carbonated water or club soda
- Core and roughly chop apples, leaving the peels on. Thinly slice the orange.
- Add chopped apples, orange slices, and whole cranberries to a large pitcher.
- Pour the wine, vodka, and apple cider into the pitcher. Add the cinnamon and ginger. Stir until well combined.
- Place the sangria in the fridge for 2 to 24 hours; the longer the flavors can sit together, the bolder the overall taste will be.
- Just before serving your sangria, add carbonated water and stir. Serve cold or over ice. Garnish with additional fruit or cinnamon sticks if desired.
Herbal Bourbon Apple Cider
The partnership of crisp apple cider and warm, woody bourbon doesn’t have to stop at an Old Fashioned. This herbal bourbon apple cider infuses bold and earthy honey-thyme simple syrup into the autumnal flavors of apple, cinnamon, and bourbon. With a touch of lemon juice to cut through the sweetness, this concoction is sweet, tart, earthy, and irresistible.
- 4 oz. apple cider
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 2 tbsp. honey-thyme simple syrup
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- Splash of club soda to taste
- Dash of cinnamon to taste
- 2 thin apple slices
- 1 thin lemon slice
- 1 thyme sprig
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add honey-thyme simple syrup, bourbon, and apple cider; shake until well mixed.
- Add the lemon juice and club soda; shake until well mixed.
- Pour into a glass and garnish with apple slices, a slice of lemon, a sprig of thyme, and a cinnamon stick.
Apple Cider Shandy
A shandy is typically made by combining wheat beer with lemon or lemon-lime carbonated beverage; it’s light, crisp, and perfect for summer. Revamp the tried and true British staple for a cinnamon-filled, fall twist with this apple cider shandy. (This is also a great excuse to try out that new six-pack of wheat beer you’ve been eyeing at the store).
- Cinnamon and sugar for coating the glass rims
- 1 orange wedge
- 4 oz. cold apple cider
- 2 oz. cold sparkling apple cider
- 8-12 oz. of cold wheat beer, pumpkin or harvest flavors optional
- Apple slices for garnish
- Combine cinnamon and sugar on a plate; rim a glass with an orange wedge and dip in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Add both ciders to the glass and stir. Squeeze in an orange wedge, then pour the wheat beer on top.
- Serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon and an apple slice for garnish.
Smoky Apple Cider Mezcal Margarita
This smoky apple cider and mezcal margarita checks off all of the flavor boxes: sweet, crisp, refreshing, smoky, savory, and sour. It’s truly the cocktail for every type of drinker. You can substitute regular tequila if you’re having trouble locating mezcal, but it won’t give your creation the same delicious smokiness that a mezcal would.
- 2 oz. mezcal
- 2 oz. apple cider
- 1 oz. lime juice
- Maple syrup or agave nectar, to taste
- 1 tbsp. coarse kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 lime
- Combine coarse kosher salt and ground ginger into a shallow plate. Rim a glass with a lime wedge and coat with salt and ginger mixture.
- Add mezcal, cider, and lime juice to a cocktail shaker. Shake and stir until combined. Add syrup or agave nectar to taste.
- Pour margarita over ice. Serve immediately. If desired, garnish with diced apples and a cinnamon stick.
Apple Cider Martini
This cocktail is the hidden trick-up-your-sleeve you’ve been looking for. Deceivingly sophisticated and undeniably tasty, this apple cider martini is great for serving (and impressing) your guests without having to buy five new vials of herbs, bitters, and the like.
- 3 oz. apple vodka
- 1 oz. cinnamon liqueur (sub: cinnamon vodka)
- 4 oz. apple cider
- Splash of Grand Marnier (sub: Cointreau, Triple Sec, or another orange-flavored liqueur)
- For an optional, caramel apple twist: 1 oz. caramel vodka
- Thin apple slice for garnish
- Combine all your ingredients and some ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain the liquid into a martini glass.
- Garnish with an apple slice.