When most people consider cider, they think about enjoying it on its own. Yet, the effervescent hooch made from orchard fruit like apples and pears is just as good, if not better, in the form of a cocktail.
It should come as no surprise that cider can play a great role in a mixed drink. After all, we’ve seen and enjoyed everything from beer cocktails to Rosé cocktails. The addition of fruit and fizz can work magic alongside herbs, citrus, and a host of spirits, from gin to rum.
Cider continues to grow within the hard alcohol realm so these days, you have more options than ever. Producers are doing it all, from stressing certain apple varieties (or combinations of varieties) to infusing ciders with other complementary fruits. And if you just want the apple flavor, you can always go with standard zero-proof apple cider in a lot of cocktails as well. All said, it’s an ideal time to incorporate cider into your home bartending and the following recipes echo that.
Without further ado, here are the eleven best cider cocktails.
There’s a foraging Scandinavian sense to this drink, rounded out with herbs, citrus, and the many layers gin affords. It’s a great aperitif to segue into an al fresco meal on the deck.
- 1.5 ounce gin
- .5 ounce thyme syrup
- .25 ounce lemon juice
- .75 ounce grapefruit juice
- apple cider
- Add ice to a wine glass and build in the glass
- Top with apple cider and garnish with a lemon twist and thyme sprig
A breezy run through a berry patch, this drink is summer in a glass. The bitterness of Pimm’s plays off of the freshness of the mint and the fruit-forward notes from the berries.
- 1 ounce Pimm’s
- .5 ounce lemon juice
- 2 blackberries
- 1 strawberry
- 3 mint leaves
- wild berry cider
- Add all ingredients to a shaker.
- Shake and dirty dump into the glass.
- Top with wild berry cider and garnish with a mint sprig.
Apple Cider Old Fashioned
Whiskey and apple go together like Taylor Swift and chart-topping. This drink is great warm as a chilly evening sipper cooled down to beat the summer heat.
- 1/2 cup ice
- 2/3 cup apple cider
- 2 ounces whiskey
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- apple slices for garnish
- cinnamon sticks for garnish
- Combine all ingredients in a glass and stir to combine
- Garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon stick
This cocktail has it all, from the tartness of cranberry to loads of tropical flavors. It looks great in the glass and even offers a spicy element thanks to the tincture.
- 1 ounce light rum
- .5 ounce orange juice
- .5 ounce cranberry juice
- .5 ounce pineapple juice
- 4 dashes chili tincture
- mango raspberry cider
- Build in glass and top with mango raspberry cider.
- Stir to combine and garnish with a lemon twist and raspberry.
Garden Basil Margarita
Who knew that the margarita was missing cider and fresh herbs all along? This tasty cocktail is great per the recipe and equally good if you want to make it more session-able with two or three times as much cider (we suggest Martinelli’s here).
- 1 ounce Cointreau
- 2 ounces reposado tequila
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 3 basil leaves
- 1 ounce sparkling apple cider
- Add Cointreau, tequila, lime, and basil to shaker.
- Add ice and shake. Fine strain into rocks glass over a large rock.
- Finish with sparkling apple cider and garnish with basil.
Hibiscus Apple Cider
This recipe from Food & Wine opts for either regular cider or hard cider. We prefer the latter not just for the kick but because the carbonation seems to take a real liking to the tea-like fruit qualities of hibiscus. Plus, it could not be easier to make.
- Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
- Add the tea bags, remove from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
- Discard the tea bags and transfer the tea to a large pitcher.
- Add the apple cider and refrigerate until cold.
Hard Apple Cider Mule
- .25 cup hard apple cider
- .5 cup nonalcoholic ginger beer
- 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 apple, peeled if desired, seeded, and sliced into thin rounds
- ice cubes
- Fill cup with ice
- Add the hard apple cider and nonalcoholic ginger beer
- Stir and garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon stick
- 1 bottle dry white wine (we suggest Vinho or Sauvignon Blanc)
- 8 ounces fresh orange juice
- 16 ounces semi-sweet hard cider
- juice of two limes
- sliced limes, oranges, and strawberries for garnish
- Combine wine, orange juice, lime juice, and garnishes in a pitcher
- Let sit for 15 minutes
- Just before serving, add cider and ice
- Stir and serve
We love a good Collins cocktail, whether the classic version or an alternative riff like this one. The added cucumber rose imparts some real classic.
- 2 parts Hendrick’s Gin
- 1 part lemon juice
- 1 part cider
- 1.5 parts ginger beer
- 3 slices of apple
- cucumber rose for garnish
- Combine all ingredients in a highball filled with cubed ice
- Lightly stir and serve
- Garnish with 3 thin slices of apple and a cucumber rose
- 6 ounces Angry Orchard Crisp Apple
- 1 ounce black cherry syrup
- 1 ounce pomegranate juice
- .5 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce white rum or tequila
- In a mixing glass, add black cherry syrup, pomegranate juice, and lime juice
- Cover with ice and shake
- Add hard cider to shaking tin then strain over fresh ice and garnish with apples
Rosé of Passion
- 6 ounces Angry Orchard Rose
- 1 ounce passion fruit syrup
- 1 ounce Aperol
- 1 ounce vodka or gin
- In a mixing glass, add syrup and Aperol
- Cover with ice and shake
- Add cider and strain over fresh ice
- Garnish with a lemon peel
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