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Entertaining
12 Best Apple Cider Cocktails

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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 12 best cocktails to make with apple cider.

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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.

The Essentials

apple cider
oloroso sherry
bourbon
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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.

The Essentials

Rum
Hard apple cider
Angostura Bitters
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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.

The Essentials

Old Tom Gin
Hop-Honey Syrup
hard cider
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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.

The Essentials

Calvados
maple syrup
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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.

The Essentials

Bourbon
apple cider
Dijon Mustard
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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.

The Essentials

Calvados
Honey Syrup
Sparkling Apple Cider
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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.

The Essentials

cinnamon-infused tequila
Cointreau
hard cider
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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.

The Essentials

apple cider
cinnamon sticks
bourbon
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If you’re not an expert, scotch cocktails are an excellent way to introduce yourself to the smoky spirit. This scotch-tail from Heather Perkins of DiAnoia’s Eatery in Pittsburgh tempers the robust whiskey with fresh apple cider and lemon juice, bittersweet Rabarbaro Zucca amaro and sweet demerara syrup.  

The Essentials

scotch
Rabarbaro Zucca
apple cider
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While you might not expect it, tequila and apple cider are actually a match made in cozy cocktail heaven. The vegetal, lightly oaky flavor of reposado tequila highlights the spicy, fruity cider in this hot cocktail from Georgie at the Montage Beverly Hills. Sweet agave syrup and fresh lemon bring added balance to the drink.

The Essentials

Tequila
Apple Cider
agave syrup
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Fireball is more than just a party shot. This fun take on a Hot Toddy swaps out your standard whiskey for the cinnamon-spiced spirit, and uses fresh apple cider in place of boring ol’ lemon juice. Garnish with an apple peel, grated nutmeg and a cinnamon stick for the fanciest Fireball cocktail you’ve ever encountered.

The Essentials

Fireball
Apple Cider
Honey
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You can—and should—enjoy a pitcher of refreshing Sangria come fall, and this autumnal twist on the classic is just the recipe to make. Mix sparkling apple cider with white wine, applejack, cinnamon syrup and lemon, then garnish with cinnamon sticks, chunks of red apple, orange slices and a heaping scoop of pomegranate seeds.

The Essentials

White Wine
Sparkling Apple Cider
applejack

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