Toasty Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail

You are only 5 ingredients away from your next go-to fall cocktail! This Toasty Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail is warm, full of flavors, and completely satisfying. The subtle sweetness of apples, a hint of tart from cranberries, and the warmth from cinnamon and bourbon make this one for the books. This drink also has the added benefit of making your house smell heavenly as it simmers – a total win.

The Toasty Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail in a white coffee mug on a table with a white placemat.

If you are anything like me, you are always looking for something delicious and simple to make that will impress your tastebuds as much your friends. This drink did both! One of the things I love most (besides the deliciousness) is how the simmering mixture makes my house smell JUST. LIKE. FALL. That, to me, makes this drink a seasonal favorite. You can whip it up in a pinch or throw it on a stove top and allow it to simmer for hours – your choice! I personally choose to enhance the feeling in my house with the scent as well as my soul with the taste 🙂

Why do I have to wait to add the bourbon until I’m ready to serve?

Alcohol will evaporate at high temperatures: 172 F to be exact. So any liquid that is boiling or even simmering, can cause the alcohol to evaporate. You want to add the alcohol last so that you have the full effects and taste of the cocktail.

What other alcohol goes well with apple cider?

In my opinion, alcohols that have the dark, amber appearance would taste delicious in warm apple cider. Try any type of whiskey or a nice dark rum. You could try brandy, but go a little less on the pour because brandy tends to be sweeter than a bourbon or whiskey. If you try something else, please let me know how it is!

The ingredients for the Toasty Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail laid flat on a table.

Ingredients for our Toasty Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail:

  • Apple Cider
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Bourbon ——> We love Woodford!
  • Garnish: Apples, Cranberries, Cinnamon Sticks

How to make our Toasty Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail:

In a large pot, add the full 1/2 gallon of apple cider, 1 1/2 cups of cranberry juice, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and a few cinnamon sticks. Gently stir to break up the spices and really incorporate all the ingredients.

A pot filled with apple cider, cranberry juice, ground cinnamon and nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks.

Once stirred, garnish with fresh cranberries and apple slices. I used a snowflake cookie-cutter to shape the apple slices for the fall season. Remove the seeds of the apple when you add the slices in.

Allow the mixture to simmer and get heated all the way through before serving. This should take only about 15 minutes on medium-low heat.

A large pot with all the ingredients in it, minus the bourbon, with fresh cranberries, cut apples, and cinnamon sticks floating on top.

Right before serving, add the bourbon in. Make sure the liquid isn’t boiling or putting off steam. If it is, you run the risk of it being so hot that the alcohol from the bourbon with evaporate. That is why the bourbon should be added last!

With a ladle, spoon out the cocktail mix into a coffee mug, trying to include some of the apples, cinnamon sticks, and cranberries. They make the drink so beautiful! Enjoy!

The Toasty Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail finished and ready to serve.

So if you are interested in changing up your Friday night cocktail choice, give this one a try. If you want a smaller batch, just cut down all the ingredients proportionally. Since the bourbon goes in last, I always give my kiddos a little cup BEFORE the alcohol is added, and they feel a little grown up and get to a little cup of fall to enjoy 🙂 This drink pairs great with our Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake… just sayin’ 😉

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Toasty Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail
Yield: 10

Toasty Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1/2 gallon Apple Cider
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp nutmeg
  • 1.5 Cup cranberry Juice
  • 2 Cups bourbon
  • Garnish: Apple slices, cranberries, cinnamon sticks


  1. In a large pot, add all ingredients EXCEPT the bourbon.
  2. Set burner heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes or as long you'd like.
  3. Add cinnamon sticks and whole cranberries for flavor and as a garnish.
  4. Add bourbon to pot right before serving. Make sure liquid is NOT boiling.
  5. Using a ladle, spoon out liquid in a coffee mug and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 206Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 11mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 25gProtein: 0g

(Nutritional information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

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