Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider

4.43 from 83 votes
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Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider is an incredibly delicious and oh-so-comforting hot cocktail. This easy autumn cocktail can also be served cold for a refreshing treat! Skip the bourbon and this can also make for an incredible and festive non-alcoholic fall drink for all ages!

Two glasses of Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider

A Hot Apple Cider Cocktail

When the fall season comes around most people are getting exciting about their pumpkin spice lattes. But for me, as soon as October arrives and my apple trees are ripe and delicious, I’m ready for an apple cider cocktail.

And while I still can’t get behind everything pumpkin spice in the fall, I certainly take advantage of apple season, utilizing them in everything from our smoked apple crisp, to homemade apple sauce for the kids, and you know it, apple cocktails — like this spiked apple cider!

There’s nothing more festive and delicious to get me in the fall spirit than a hot spiked cocktail full of flavorful mulling spices.

A topdown shot of two Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider drinks

Ingredients and Variations

  • Apple Cider – Use real apple cider for the best flavor. In a pinch you can use the same portions with apple juice but it won’t have the same flavor and texture.
  • Mulling Spices – We use whole star anise, cloves, and a cinnamon stick. As the apple cider warms with the seasoning it infuses that amazing flavor.
  • Bourbon – You can use good Bourbon or substitute whiskey or even rum. The brown caramel flavors from Bourbon are our favorite flavor profile.
  • Citrus – Orange juice and fresh orange slices add a hint of warm citrus flavor. You can really use any citrus but we prefer orange.
  • Garnish – We often use a sugar rimmed glass, so cane sugar is a good option. Fresh slice of orange on the rim as well as a cinnamon stick. You can add ground cinnamon to the sugar for a cinnamon sugar rim. Use 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to 2 tablespoons of sugar for up to four glasses.

How to make Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider

  • Start by making your mulled cider: Place all of your ingredients (except for the alcohol) in a pot and bring it to a simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the solids and place in a container to keep it warm (or a crock pot). 
  • To make the cocktail: Rim your glass with sugar (optional) and then add bourbon, and top with about 1 cup of the cider mix. Garnish with an apple slice, orange wedge, and a cinnamon stick. Serve hot!

The best part about this cocktail is that it’s super adaptable. You can make it with whatever brown booze you’ve got around (but I highly recommend Bourbon for this spiked apple cider drink). It can be made in advance and warm it up as needed. You can make a virgin version for the kiddos (just omit the alcohol)! And you can even make it into a cold cocktail if you’re just not into those hot boozy beverages. It’s your call.

And you don’t need to make your own cider for this recipe. This is the time of year you can get some help from the local farms or markets who do it best.

A Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider cocktail in a glass

Common Q&A regarding Spiked Hot Apple Cider

What’s the best alcohol for Spiked Hot Apple Cider?

We prefer Bourbon. But you could also use whiskey, rum, cognac or brandy.

Can this Bourbon Spiked Apple Cider be served cold?

Absolutely! Just let it cool and serve it over ice. It’s super refreshing that way.

Can it be made without alcohol?

For sure! It was originally intended to be a family friendly booze-less drink. But it sure makes for a comforting fall cocktail on a cold rainy evening.

This is also an excellent cocktail for Thanksgiving too! The hot version would go well with pumpkin pie. Or serve cold over ice as an aperitif when your guests are arriving.

What’s the best way to keep cider hot?

Slow cooker, baby! If you’re having a party the best thing to do is make a big batch and keep it on the low setting in your slow cooker. That way it’s nice and warm for as long as it lasts. Alternatively a large coffee tumbler works. Anything that is insulated and will keep the beverage warm for a lengthy period of time.

Holding a glass of warm spiked apple cider

You can see us make this delicious fall spiked apple cider cocktail on our ABC station AM Northwest with our popular Grilled Brie with Blackberry Jam. Perfect fall party appetizer and cocktail.

Favorite Fall Recipes

Check out our full list of fall recipe ideas or explore some of our favorites.

Explore our list of cocktail recipes or explore some of our favorites.

*This post was originally published in 2014, and edited in October of 2023 with new photos and updated content. The original recipe remains the same.

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Spiked Hot Apple Cider
4.43 from 83 votes

Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider Recipe

A soothing and comforting spiked apple cider made with Bourbon. Can be served warm or cold over ice. 
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 drinks


  • 4 ½ cups apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 8 ounces Bourbon,, recommend Bulleit or Basil Hayden’s
  • 4 slices navel orange,, for garnish
  • Optional sugar, to rim the glass


To Make the Hot Cider:

  • Place the apple cider, cinnamon stick, orange juice, cloves and star anise in a small pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain into a pitcher. 

To Make the Cocktail:

  • If you plan to rim the glass with sugar do that now. See notes for details.
  • In the glass, add 2 oz bourbon and 1 cup of the cider mix.
  • Garnish with an orange slice and stick of cinnamon and serve warm.



How to Rim the Glass with Sugar – Place approximately 1/4 cup sugar on a flat plate. Take an extra slice of the orange and rub the rim of the glass used for serving. One slice will work for all four glasses. Discard the slice. Then flip the glass upside down and place onto the plate with the sugar. Rotate 1/4 turn back and forth. The sugar will adhere to the glass because of the moisture from the orange. 
Then add the drink into the glass.
*Alternatively you can serve it cold. Allow the mixture to cool, strain, and then serve over ice.
*For a virgin version just omit the alcohol. 


Calories: 291kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 352mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Cocktail, Drinks
Cuisine: Cocktail, Comfort Food, Drinks, fall food
Servings: 4 drinks
Calories: 291
Keyword: bourbon drinks, fall cocktails, mulled apple cider, Spiked Hot Apple Cider
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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. 5 stars
    I came upon this recipe a few weeks ago. We are in South Texas and we finally have had a cold snap….We made this beverage tonight and enjoyed it around our fire pit…Oh My!! this was wonderful – only changes are that we did not do a sugar rim on the glass and we added a squeeze of fresh lemon to our drink…This was a great drink for a cool evening!! We will do this again for sure!!

  2. 5 stars
    We did this for New Years day, super simple and tastes great! Even the non-bourbon lovers enjoyed it. 🙂