Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider is an incredibly delicious and oh-so-comforting drink. This easy autumn cocktail can also be served cold for a refreshing treat!
It takes me awhile to finally get into the fall spirit. While most people are getting exciting about their pumpkin spice lattes in August, I’m soaking up every last minute of summer I can get. But when October comes around and my apple trees are screaming for attention, I’m finally accepting the fact that fall is here to stay.
Well at least for a few months that is.
And while I still can’t get behind everything pumpkin spice in the fall, I sure can take advantage of apple season, and 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!
Count me in for a mulled boozy cocktail!
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 5-10 minutes. Strain the solids and place in a container.
- To make the cocktail: Rim your glass with sugar (optional) and then add bourbon, and top 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! 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 who do it best.
What’s the best alcohol for Spiked Apple Cider?
Well, we prefer Bourbon. But you could also use whiskey, rum, cognac or brandy.
Recipe for Bourbon Spiked Apple Cider
Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider
- 4 1/2 cups apple cider
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 star anise
- Bourbon, recommend Bulleit or Basil Hayden’s
- 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 5-10 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.
- In the glass, add 2 oz bourbon and 1 cup of the cider mix.
- Garnish with an orange slice and stick of cinnamon.
Common Q&A regarding Spiked Apple Cider Drinks
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.
Related Cocktail & Apple Recipes:
*This post was originally published in 2014, and edited in October of 2018 with new photos and updated content.