Our apple cider cocktail recipe is an unconventional combination of homemade cider and alcoholic spirits. It’s the perfect drink for you to enjoy on a Friday night after a hard-working week.
Is Apple Cider a Juice?
To understand the distinction between apple cider and juice, we must understand their production processes first:
Fresh cider is raw apple juice that has not been filtered to remove any pulp.
In order to make fresh cider, first, manufacturers collect and wash apples. Then, they cut and grind them into a mash with a consistency that resembles apple sauce.
This mash is then wrapped in cloth and compressed by a hydraulic press to extract the juice. This juice will be bottled and labeled as apple cider.
Apple juice undergoes a filtration process where pulp or any remaining solids are removed. This is the reason why apple juice has a much clearer appearance compared to apple cider. After that, the juice will be pasteurized to expand its shelf life.
Is Apple Cider Good for You?
Simply put, apple cider is unfiltered apple juice, which means it contains more fiber and healthy compounds such as vitamin C and A.
Of course, when mixed with alcohol, we can no longer say it’s healthy.
Ingredients for Apple Cider Cocktail
Today’s apple cider cocktail recipe requires only 5 ingredients:
- Apple cider: We’re using our easy to make apple cider; click the link to check out the recipe. If you don’t have the time to make it yourself, it’s OK to use your favorite store-bought product.
- Grand Marnier: This liqueur has a sugary, orange, and vanilla aroma. Surprisingly, its taste isn’t sweet at all, but rather slightly bitter and quite sophisticated.
- Whiskey: Many people may enjoy whiskey neat, but its strong caramel, oaky, spicy flavor makes it the perfect ingredient for an apple cider cocktail recipe.
- Lemon juice: It adds fresh, citrus flavors to the cocktail and masks the strong alcoholic smell.
- Thyme: Its warm, earthy aroma fits perfectly with this cocktail. Don’t try to use any other herbs otherwise your cocktail will have an odd flavor profile.
- And ice: It will keep the drink chilled and fresh, making it more pleasant to sip.
What Alcohol Mixes Well With This Cocktail?
Besides Grand Marnier and whiskey, here are a few other alcoholic spirits that go well with apple cider:
- Light rum: This versatile spirit is like a blank canvas for you to throw any color on due to its mildly sweet and subtle flavor profile. This makes it one of the best cocktail ingredients.
- Brandy: Generally, brandy has a fruity, flowery, and oftentimes, citrusy flavor. It’s also a great substitute for whiskey thanks to its similar warm, oaky scent.
How to Make Apple Cider Cocktail
As mentioned, we made our own apple cider, which took quite some time. If you want to give this a try, check out our Instant Pot apple cider recipe and make it ahead of time.
Once your homemade or store-bought apple cider is ready, measure out the alcoholic spirits and the remaining ingredients. You can now proceed with this apple cider cocktail recipe:
Mix the drink.
Garnish and serve.
How to Garnish This Cocktail
Cocktails are all about aesthetics, so here are a few suggestions on how to make your drink more visually appealing:
- Fresh fruits: Put a slice of apple in your glass and it will add an extra fruity note to the drink.
- Herbs: Add a sprig of thyme to your cocktail to give it a warm aroma and contrast in colors. We recommend gently slapping the thyme sprig against the palm of your hand to release its inner oil before garnishing.
- Lemon peel: Use a sharp peeler to remove a piece of lemon zest. Twist it and drop it in to let the citrusy perfume permeate into the cocktail.
All of these garnishes should float on top of the cocktail or sit on the edge of the glass. As you sip, the fruity/herby/citrusy scent will fill your nose and mask the alcoholic smell.
How Long Does Apple Cider Cocktail Last?
Both alcohol and lemon juice have preservation properties. They will help to keep your apple cider cocktail fresh for about three days in the fridge.
We recommend storing the beverage in an airtight bottle or container to prevent the alcohol from evaporating and the cocktail from losing flavor.
That being said, we encourage you to make a new cocktail every time you’re thirsty for a boozy drink. It only takes 5 minutes to make, and fresh cocktails always taste better.
More Tasty Apple Cider Recipes Coming Up!
If you’re a fan of apple cider, don’t miss out on these recipes:
- Sugar-Free Apple Cider Recipe: Have a taste of autumn with our simple, sugar-free apple cider as you gaze out the window on a Sunday afternoon. You will feel the warm spices comforting your heart in every sip.
- Apple Cider Margarita Recipe: This drink tastes like a boozy apple tart in a glass, making it the perfect dessert drink to wrap up a meal.
- Apple Cider Hot Toddy Recipe: This is what you get from mixing apple cider with whiskey — a warm drink to soothe your soul on cold winter nights.
Apple Cider Cocktail Recipe
Our apple cider cocktail recipe requires only 5 ingredients and takes 5 minutes to make. This is a simple boozy beverage for you to enjoy after a long day of work.
- prep TIME 3 mins
- total TIME 3 mins
- COURSE Beverage
- CUISINE American
- CALORIES 163 kcal
- 3 cups homemade apple cider
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 fl oz Grand Marnier
- 1 fl oz proof whiskey
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs (for garnish)
- 2 cups ice
Mix the drink: In a large pitcher, combine 3 cups apple cider, 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 fl oz Grand Marnier, and 1 fl oz whiskey. Mix well to combine.
Garnish and serve: Divide 2 cups of ice into four glasses. Pour the drink, garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme, and serve.
Tuyet PhamChef, Culinary Consultant
Luna ReginaWriter, Author
Natalie Butler, RD, LDNutrition Reviewer
March 27, 2023 at 8:16 AMThis apple cider cocktail is a tasty twist on the classic punch recipe, and packs a sweet kick with its combination of flavors.