Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider is an incredibly delicious and oh-so-autumn treat. It 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 now that it’s October, the Oregon rain has commenced, 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 hot apple cider!
Like I said, our trees are overflowing and screaming for a little love. Not to mention being surrounded by local orchards with festivals every weekend this month serving up fresh apple fritters and house made cider. And when I think cider, I think of a hot mulled boozy cider cocktail.
Count me in!
How to make Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider
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). You can make it 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.
Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider
A soothing and comforting spiked apple cider made with Bourbon. Can be served warm or cold over ice.
- 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.
*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.
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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 alcohol for Spiked Apple Cider?
Well, we prefer Bourbon. But you could also use whiskey, rum, cognac or brandy.
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:
- Cognac Hot Toddy
- Apple Cider Mimosas
- Semi-Smoked Apple Crisp
*This post was originally published in 2014, and edited in October of 2018 with new photos and updated content.