While apple cider is at its peak in early fall (aka apple picking season), it can be enjoyed year round—especially when mixed into cocktails. Whether it’s a bottle of sparkling cider, a six-pack of hard cider or a gallon of freshly pressed apple cider from the farmers market, we have a few ideas on how to spike it. Here are the best cocktails to make with apple cider.
8 Best Apple Cider Cocktails
Wassail has taken many forms in its centuries of existence, but our favorite version is made with spiced-mulled apple cider, sherry, bourbon, pear liqueur and allspice dram. The result is one of the coziest, warmest beverages you’ll ever sip.
This all-American cocktail calls for two ingredients the original colonists had in bulk: rum and apple cider. While you could swap out rum for whiskey, we choose to keep things traditional—adding only a dash of Angostura bitters for some extra depth.
Hard apple cider
Bartender Laura Gardner of Staten Island’s Hop Shoppe took home the gold at 2016’s Queen Bee Classic cocktail competition for this drink, and it’s easy to see why. Bittersweet hop-honey syrup gets shaken with gin, muddled fresh ginger, lemon juice and hop bitters. Dry sparkling apple cider tops everything off for a cocktail that spans the seasons.
Old Tom Gin
This riff on a Champagne Cocktail from the Greydon House in Nantucket swaps out classic Champagne for sparkling apple cider, lending some effervescence to the comforting mixture of maple syrup, Peychaud’s bitters, fresh lemon juice and Calvados—a traditional French apple brandy.
This bourbon-based drink from Yardbird Southern Table & Bar uses traditional pork flavorings like Dijon mustard, thyme and apple cider, for a sweet and tangy cocktail that pairs perfectly with meaty meals.
When it comes to punches, it doesn’t get easier than this boozy bowl of cider. Pour two bottles of sparkling apple cider, a bottle of Calvados and some honey syrup into a punch bowl. Then soak cinnamon sticks in overproof rum, ignite them and watch the bubbles fizz up as you drop in the sticks.
Sparkling Apple Cider
The classic Mexican Bulldog gets a seasonal makeover in this jumbo, cinnamon-spiced cocktail. Cinnamon-infused tequila, Cointreau and lemon juice make up the frozen Margarita, which gets adorned with an upturned bottle of hard apple cider. Rim the glass in cinnamon-sugar for an even sweeter treat.
When Jack Frost comes to call, hot apple cider will keep you warm, especially when spiked with bourbon. This crowd-friendly mulled cider can be made in a crock pot for easy prep. It’s warm and ready whenever you want it.