This Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail is my favorite fall-inspired twist on the classic Old Fashioned. Bourbon, bitters, and homemade apple cider syrup garnished with slices of dried apples and a fresh sprig of rosemary. Crisp and strong - just as an Old Fashioned should be!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- No bar tools required. If you avoid making cocktails at home because your kitchen is sparse, this is the fall cocktail recipe for you! No mixology kits needed.
- A versatile way to use up apple cider. When most people think of apple cider, they think of warm hot ciders or soups. But apple cider also works well in cold cocktails! If you've got a few cups left, use it to make homemade apple cider syrup.
- Easy to make enough for a crowd. In the recipe card below, I gave you the measurements to make one Bourbon apple cocktail. If you are hosting, or making enough for family, simply increase the ingredients accordingly. You can make 6-8 apple cocktails with the homemade syrup.
Tools You'll Need
- Fine meshed sieve
- Cocktail glass
Make your own apple cider syrup at home with a few fresh ingredients. You'll need apple cider, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and fresh rosemary. Note that all of the spices used are whole, not ground.
For the main fall cocktail, you'll need Bourbon, angostura bitters as well as fresh rosemary, and dried apple and orange slices for garnish.
- Use whiskey. This will make your cocktail less of an old fashioned, but will work as a fine substitute.
- Garnish with fresh fruit. If you haven't had a chance to make dried apples or oranges to garnish your homemade cocktails, using slices of fresh fruit is equally pretty and delicious.
How to Make Bourbon Apple Cocktails at Home
- Start the apple cider syrup. In a small saucepan, combine apple cider, orange (halved and squeezed), star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and rosemary. Place on the stove over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer the syrup ingredients about 15-20 minutes, or until the apple cider has reduced to about ½ cup of syrup.
- Strain and cool. Once the apple cider syrup has reduced, strain the cinnamon, orange, star anise and rosemary from the syrup. Allow the syrup to cool completely at room temperature.
- Make the cocktail. Combine apple cider syrup, bourbon, and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well, and strain into a cocktail glass with ice. Top with a dried apple slice, dried orange slice, and a sprig of fresh rosemary. Enjoy!
Prep Ahead Options
- Prepare the apple cider syrup in advance. This cider syrup will last in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, so feel free to prep a few days in advance for easy Bourbon apple cocktail making.
- Prepare the garnish in advance. Dried apple and oranges will store well at room temperature for about 1 week or in the refrigerator for longer.
This cool, fall-inspired apple cider cocktail pairs well with both appetizers for football season and main dishes. Here are a few of my favorite appetizers and main dishes.
- Gluten Free Pasta Bake with Butternut Squash
- Pumpkin and Mushroom Risotto
- Rosemary Pot Roast with Butternut Squash
All bourbons are whiskey, but not all whiskeys are bourbons, meaning they are similar, but not the same. In order for a whiskey to qualify as a Bourbon, it must be made in the United States, derived from at least 51% corn and be aged in an oak barrel, among a few other requirements.
Yes, homemade apple cider syrup is perishable and should be refrigerated for longevity. For optimal freshness, store in an airtight jar, like a Mason jar.
Unlike apple cider, cocktail bitters are shelf stable and do not need to be refrigerated. Keep them on your bar cart or in the liquor cabinet for easy access.
Tips and Tricks for Success
- Don't rush the syrup making. In order for the apple cider to reduce enough to make a thick concentrated syrup, it needs to simmer for a full 15-20 minutes.
- Use fresh, whole spices. Homemade cocktail making is the time and place to splurge on fresh spices.
- Serve over a single, large ice cube. This will make your Bourbon apple cocktail reminiscent of a classic old fashioned.
More Homemade Cocktails You May Like
Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail
Apple Cider Syrup Ingredients
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 medium navel orange squeezed
- 4-5 pieces whole star anise
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Apple Cider Bourbon Old Fashioned Ingredients (for 1 cocktail)
- 1 ounce apple cider syrup
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 3 dashes bitters
- 1 dried apple slice
- 1 dried orange slice
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- In a small saucepan, combine apple cider, orange (halved and squeezed), star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and rosemary. Place on the stove over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the mixture has reduced to about ½ cup of syrup. Strain and let cool.
- Once the syrup has cooled, make the cocktail. To make one cocktail, combine 1 ounce apple cider syrup, 2 ounces of bourbon, and 3 dashes of bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well, and strain into a cocktail glass with ice. Top with a dried apple slice, dried orange slice (you can use a fresh apple and orange slice if you prefer), and a sprig of fresh rosemary. Enjoy!