Apple cider takes on a grown-up twist with the addition of bourbon in this delicious Apple Cider Cocktail. Made easy with just a handful of ingredients it’s the perfect excuse to throw a fall gathering.

We just love fall cocktails like Pumpkin Spice Hot Buttered Rum, Smashing Pumpkin Cocktail, Smoked Rosemary Bourbon Sour, and Mulled Wine, or Glühwein as it’s called in German-speaking countries.

bourbon apple cider cocktail with thyme garnish

Easy Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail

As soon as I spot the grocery stores stocking apple cider, I jump for joy and immediately start thinking about all the recipes I can make with it. This year my first apple cider recipe is one of my favorites and will be making all season long. This easy bourbon apple cider cocktail will have you ditching all your pumpkin beer and PSL this fall. 

Because who said fall has to be all about the pumpkin? Mixed with fresh apple cider, ginger beer, and just enough bourbon to warm you up on a chilly night, it’s the epitome of autumn and you need it in your life. 

  1. Fall in a Glass: The rich, warm notes of bourbon and the crisp, sweet tang of apple cider perfectly encapsulate the flavors of autumn.
  2. Simplicity and Sophistication: It’s easy to make, yet it feels like a gourmet treat, making it suitable for both casual gatherings and elegant soirées.
  3. Versatility: This cocktail serves as a delightful aperitif or a comforting nightcap, making it an excellent choice for various occasions.
  4. Nostalgia and Tradition: It invokes feelings of nostalgia for cozy evenings by the fire, hayrides, and harvest festivals—a truly heartwarming experience.
  5. Perfect for Any Gathering: Whether you’re making a single glass or a batch for a crowd, the Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail is a versatile and crowd-pleasing choice for any social occasion.
2 glasses of bourbon apple cider cocktail with fall vibes

What’s In A Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail?

  • Apple cider – a natural, unfiltered apple juice known for its fresh apple flavor. You can find it in grocery stores, orchards, farmers’ markets, and online.
  • Bourbon – Opt for a decent, sippable bourbon or whiskey, without breaking the bank.
  • Lemon juice – fresh squeezed is best
  • Ginger beer or ginger ale – Ginger beer a non-alcoholic, carbonated beverage known for its bold and spicy ginger flavor, often sweetened and used as a mixer in cocktails. Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink with a milder and sweeter ginger flavor compared to ginger beer.
  • Garnish – Apple slices, thyme sprig, and cinnamon stick

What Kind Of Bourbon Should I Use?

Selecting the right bourbon for your Apple Cider Cocktail is essential to achieving the desired flavor profile. The choice of Jim Beam (or any mid-range bourbon) is excellent— a classic, versatile bourbon known for its balanced taste. Its mild sweetness and mellow oak notes complement the apple cider beautifully. 

However, feel free to experiment with other bourbons too, as each brand may bring its unique character to the cocktail. Whether you stick with Jim Beam or venture into different brands, make sure it’s a bourbon you enjoy sipping on its own, as its flavors will shine through in your cocktail.

The choice of bourbon should align with your personal taste and the drink you’re making. A more budget-friendly bourbon can often provide the desired flavor without overcomplicating or overpricing your cocktail.

You could also swap out the bourbon for any other dark liquor you prefer if bourbon isn’t your liquor of choice. I would stay away from the clear liquors like vodka or gin though because you really need the flavors that dark liquor bings to make this cocktail have all those great fall flavors we love. 

bourbon apple cider cocktail garnished with a cinnamon stick, apple slices and a rosemary sprig

How To Make This Easy Bourbon Cocktail

This recipe is as simple as {apple} pie and captures the essence of fall perfectly. With just a handful of basic tools and mere minutes, you can whip it up whenever the autumn spirit strikes. Make sure to keep the essentials handy for your impromptu fall cocktail cravings!

  1. To mix up this creation you simply fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the cider, bourbon, and lemon juice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
  2. Then top it off with ginger ale or ginger beer and garnish with an apple slice, cinnamon stick and thyme sprig.
apple cider cocktails with fall leaves and fresh apples around the glasses


Is apple cider the same as apple juice?

No, apple cider and apple juice are not the same. Apple cider is typically unfiltered and retains apple solids, resulting in a cloudier appearance and a more robust, tart flavor. Apple juice, on the other hand, is filtered to remove solids and pasteurized for a longer shelf life, giving it a clear appearance and a sweeter taste.

Can you make this drink an apple cider mocktail?

Creating a non-alcoholic version of this Apple Cider Bourbon drink is simple. Just omit the bourbon from the recipe, and you’ll have a delightful and refreshing apple cider mocktail. Alternatively, you can explore non-alcoholic bourbon alternatives available in some stores to maintain that bourbon-like flavor without the alcohol content, ensuring everyone can enjoy the same delicious taste without the buzz.

Can you make a warm apple cider cocktail?

You can make a mulled cider cocktail, much like mulled wine. You would not use the ginger beer and I would swap out the lemon juice for orange juice. Warm the apple cider and orange juice in a small pot on the stove with a cinnamon stick, star of anise, and a pinch of cloves and nutmeg. Bring to a low simmer (barley boiling), then warm on low for at least an hour. Stir in the bourbon, garnish with an orange slice and cinnamon stick, and enjoy.

Can I use apple juice instead of apple cider for this cocktail?

Certainly! While apple juice can be substituted for apple cider in a pinch, it may result in a slightly sweeter and clearer drink, so adjust the sweetness accordingly to match your taste preference.

apple cider cocktail with bourbon on a black and white striped napkin and fall leaves and apples around the table

How To Make A Large Batch For A Party

Our recipe here is for 1 serving (a little over 7 ounces). There are 128 ounces in a gallon and 128 divided by 7 would be about 18. So if you multiplied all of the ingredients in our recipe by 18 you should have about a gallon.

For One Gallon

  • 54 ounces apple cider
  • 36 ounces bourbon
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • 36 ounces ginger beer or ginger ale

Mix the cider, bourbon, and lemon juice ahead of time and keep in the fridge to stay cold. Wait to add the ginger beer until you’re just about to serve it—if you add it too far ahead of time, it will go flat.

To serve, pour into glasses filled with fresh ice.

This apple cider cocktail would make the best attendee at your first fall party of the season. Just imagine everyone around a fire roasting marshmallows and a gourmet smores bar. while sipping on this cozy apple drink and pumpkin hot chocolate will warm your soul.

Tools used to make this Easy Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail

Bar Shaker: cocktail shaker will not only look great on your bar cart, but it also helps you make amazing bar-quality cocktails!

Glass Pitcher: Perfect for serving this cocktail to a crowd.

Citrus Juicer: every home bar needs a good juicer.


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For optimal freshness and flavor, savor this cocktail on the day of preparation. If preparing a larger quantity, combine all ingredients except the ginger beer in a large pitcher and refrigerate until shortly before serving. Add the ginger beer (I usually top of the glasses one at a time) just before serving to enjoy its effervescence.

 apple cider cocktail with Jim Beam bourbon

More Apple Recipes For Fall

Apples are a versatile fruit, perfect for enjoying as a snack or incorporating into a variety of delicious recipes. From spiced cocktails to cozy desserts, apples add a delightful touch to fall-inspired creations.

Apple Pie Bars With Crumb Topping – Easier than apple pie and just as delicious. Made with fresh apples and a buttery crumb topping, they are sturdy enough to eat with your hands.

Fried Apples Recipe – Fresh apples, sugar, and butter-fried on the stovetop with cinnamon…so delicious! Learn how to make fried apples for breakfast, dessert, snacks, or even as a side dish!

Apple Cider Donuts– This easy-to-follow recipe with all the taste of fall pairs perfectly with a morning cup of coffee with pumpkin spice creamer

Easy Apple Pumpkin Cupcakes – A scrumptious harvest treat; optional to serve as cupcakes with no frosting as a breakfast or snack muffin!

Caramel Apple Moscow Mule – Perfect for autumn! Made with sweet caramel vodka, fresh apple cider, and ginger beer it’s sure to become the official cocktail of fall!

Apple and Peanut Butter Bread Pudding – Bread pudding with a delightful twist – the addition of apples and peanut butter for a delicious surprise that’ll win over the whole family.

apple cider cocktail photo collage

Originally posted in April 2022. UPDATED May 2024. We spiffed up this post with more information. No changes were made to the recipe.

bourbon apple cider cocktail

Easy Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

Apple cider takes on a grown-up twist with the addition of bourbon in this delicious Apple Cider Cocktail. Made easy with just a handful of ingredients it's the perfect excuse to throw a fall gathering.


  • 3 ounces apple cider
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 ounces ginger beer or ginger ale
  • apple slice, thyme sprig and cinnamon stick for garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add cider, bourbon and lemon juice. Shake for 30 seconds and strain into ice-filled rocks glass.
  2. Top off with ginger ale or ginger beer.
  3. Garnish with apple slice, cinnamon stick and thyme sprig.


To make a large batch

for one gallon I would use:

  • 54 ounces apple cider
  • 36 ounces bourbon
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • 36 ounces ginger beer

Mix the cider, bourbon and lemon juice ahead of time and keep in the fridge to stay cold. Wait to add the ginger beer until you’re just about to serve it—if you add it too far ahead of time, it will go flat.

To serve, pour into glasses filled with fresh ice.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 203Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 9mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 17gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used and are just estimates. We encourage, especially if these numbers are important to you, to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.

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Apple Cider Cocktail with a cinnamon stick and apple slices in a glass