Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider is an incredibly delicious and oh-so-comforting hot drink. This easy autumn cocktail can also be served cold for a refreshing treat!
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 comes around 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.
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 Recipe
- 4 1/2 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.
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.