16 Apple Cocktails to Drink This Fall

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[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, María del Mar Sacasa, Michael Dietsch, Elana Lepkowski]

At the cusp of fall, we all once again remember that apples exist. And suddenly we have so much work to do. There are so many different types to try at the local farmers market, so many orchards to visit, and so many pies to bake. So why not make the drinking part easy? Here are a few our favorite cocktails featuring apple cider and hard spirits. No orchard-hunting or special prep needed; just pour, mix, and sip.

Tangy Cider Fizz

[Photograph: Elana Lepkowski]

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If you got carried away and bought a giant jug of fresh apple cider at the pick-your-own orchard or local farmers market, invite a crowd over and make this refreshing low-alcohol drink. It's sweetened with brown sugar and features Carpano Antica, a rich and complex Italian vermouth. Lemon and seltzer keep things bright.

Get the recipe for the Tangy Cider Fizz »

Apple Elixir

[Photograph: Elana Lepkowski]

This cocktail bursts with three layers of apple flavor. First, there's fresh, unfiltered sweet cider, then there's warming 100-proof apple brandy, and finally, fizzy, tart hard cider. It's spiced up with cinnamon, allspice, clove, and peppercorns and balanced with lemon for brightness.

Get the recipe for the Apple Elixir »

Orchard Boulevardier

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[Photograph: María del Mar Sacasa]

The classic Boulevardier, made Negroni-style with Campari, sweet vermouth, and whiskey, is one of our autumn go-to drinks. Adding hot cider gives you an extra layer of warming comfort. This drink recipe serves two, but we wouldn't blame you for going through a few mugs of it while curled up next to a crackling fire.

Get the recipe for the Orchard Boulevardier »

Pop! Cider

Pop! Cider

[Photograph: María del Mar Sacasa]

You can toast with a plain flute of bubbly, but this fizzy cocktail is a delightfully flavorful alternative, enriched with a splash of apple cider and a little Bénédictine, which offers herbal, honeyed flavors. No need to shell out for Champagne here—budget-friendly Prosecco works just fine.

Get the recipe for Pop! Cider »

The Honey Ryder

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[Photograph: JL Studios]

You remember the neon-colored, artificially flavored Appletini, right? This re-imagined version turns to a classic for inspiration: the Vesper, a la James Bond. Gin infused with fresh, tart apple and sweet cider is shaken with bison grass vodka and Lillet Blanc for a drink that's herbal, subtly apple-tinged, and completely delicious.

Get the recipe for The Honey Ryder »

Pom Pomme

Pom Pomme

[Photograph: Autumn Giles]

Fruit-forward without being cloying, this sparkling drink brings together pomegranates (the pom) and apples (the pomme). Hard cider is the perfect autumnal stand-in for bubbly, and Laird's Apple Brandy lends another layer of rich fall flavor. This drink has all the party cocktail bases covered: it's not too strong, it's really pretty, and it's not too sweet to drink alongside food.

Get the recipe for the Pom Pomme »

Apple Crisp Cocktail

[Photograph: Wes Rowe]

This autumnal highball brings together Laird's bonded apple brandy with bourbon that's been infused with spicy green cardamom pods. Use whichever drinkable bourbon you have on hand, and don't infuse it for longer than directed lest your bourbon start to taste like cardamom-tinged cough syrup. It's an easy-to-sip drink that's lightly spicy but still refreshing.

Get the recipe for the Apple Crisp Cocktail »

Jack Rose

Jack Rose

[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

This classic drink is boozy but refreshingly fruity, thanks to a stiff pour of applejack sweetened with grenadine (you can make your own!) and spiced with Peychaud's bitters. Lemon helps it all go down easy...be careful!

Get the recipe for the Jack Rose »

Salty Maple Buttered Cider

Salty Maple Buttered Cider

[Photograph: María del Mar Sacasa]

Hot buttered rum is a staple of the cold months, and for good reason: butter blends perfectly into the dark, rich rum for a soothing blend. In this drink, cider is added to the mix, along with maple syrup and a scraped vanilla bean. Focus the flavors with sprinkle of Maldon salt and a little lemon juice.

Get the recipe for Salty Maple Buttered Cider »

The King's Waes Hail

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[Photograph: Maggie Hoffman]

We're not always fans of ginger liqueur, but we really like The King's Ginger, which is rich and full with a ginger-and-whiskey backbone. Here it's mixed with apple brandy, lemon, and rich Carpano Antica vermouth in a cocktail that's great with or without a frothy egg white.

Get the recipe for The King's Waes Hail »

Granny's Navy Grog

[Photograph: Autumn Giles]

Taking a cue from the tiki tradition, this version of a Navy Grog layers light rum with a full-bodied dark rum, then cut the richness with freshly squeezed grapefruit and lemon juices. The juice highlights the tartness of hard cider (use Woodchuck Granny Smith or your favorite brand).

Get the recipe for Granny's Navy Grog »

Honeymoon Cocktail

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[Photograph: Alice Gao]

The Honeymoon Cocktail is essentially an apple brandy sour, boozy and sultry but balanced with fresh acidity. The classic cocktail combines apple brandy, sweet orange curaçao, herbal Bénédictine, and tart lemon juice.

Get the recipe for the Honeymoon Cocktail »

Peppery Ginger Cider

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[Photograph: María del Mar Sacasa]

For those who appreciate sweet apple cider but need more bite than that mellow drink provides, this warm cocktail, spiked with your favorite bourbon, offers the sharpness of ginger. To underscore that subtle burn, add cracked black pepper on the top of each mug.

Get the recipe for Peppery Ginger Cider »

Applejack Rabbit

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[Photograph: Alice Gao]

Could this be your new favorite brunch cocktail? The combination of apple brandy, fresh lemon and orange juice, and maple syrup feels perfectly seasonal. Be sure to use grade B maple syrup to add the deepest flavor.

Get the recipe for Applejack Rabbit »

Gin-Applejack Punch

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[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

This big-batch punch marries warming applejack with piney-fresh gin. Lime and orange juices brighten it up, and muddling the orange to get the oils from the peel adds a delicately bitter complexity that straight juice just doesn't match. Make this drink ahead of time and let it chill in your fridge before party time.

Get the recipe for Gin-Applejack Punch »

Señor Brown

Señor Brown Cocktail

[Photograph: Michael Dietsch]

Though it's only made with two ingredients—mezcal and apple soda—this is a complex drink for cocktail lovers. The smoky mezcal offers a savory quality that unfolds on your tongue, and the apple soda provides a bracing tartness that keeps things in balance.

Get the recipe for the Señor Brown »