A cozy wintry night, a Christmas gathering by an indoor fire, or a chilly evening with loved ones – what could make these moments even more delightful?
Spiced cider cocktail. A warm and aromatic drink combining the comforting flavors of apple cider, bourbon, and a touch of spiced syrup.
Every tantalizing sip of this delicious cocktail will warm you from the inside out. It’s the perfect companion for those special times when you want to quietly savor the joys of winter.
And, it’s a delightful win-win when your cocktail doesn’t just give you the punch from the booze but also comes with a side of health.
Apples and its derivative, apple cider, are great for your heart, lungs, and gut. The spices in the cocktail offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So, you can sip on this cocktail and feel a little less guilty about indulging in a tasty treat.
Angostura bitters, the flavor maker of this cocktail
Angostura bitters are a concentrated type of bitters made of gentian liqueur and an assortment of herbs and spices. It has long been used to flavor many alcoholic beverages.
Most of the ingredients in the spiced apple cider cocktails are fairly easy to find and may not call for substitute options. Angostura bitters, however, might pose a challenge. It is notoriously difficult to source.
If you cannot find this ingredient, use substitutes for Angostura bitters like Absinthe, Campari, Peychaud’s Bitters, or Amaro.
Spiced Cider Cocktail
- 3 ounces apple cider
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce spiced syrup recipe below
- ¼ tsp Angostura bitters 2 dashes
- 1 nos. apple thinly sliced
- 5 nos. star anise for syrup and garnish
- ¼ tsp Lemon or lime juice for garnish
- FOR THE SPICED SYRUP:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 nos. star anise
- 4 nos. cloves
- Prepare the garnish. Cut an apple in half lengthwise, then cut into thin slices. If you use horizontal slices from the middle of the apple, you’ll get that pretty star shape from where the seeds were.
- Put the apple slices into a bowl of ice water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. This will keep them from turning brown.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add apple cider, bourbon, spiced syrup, and bitters, and shake with a fury for about 10 seconds.
- Strain into a short glass, and garnish with an apple slice and star anise. Add a cinnamon stick to the garnish if you love the flavor of cinnamon sticks.
- FOR THE SPICED SYRUP:
- Combine water, sugar, star anise, and cloves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved.
- Take off the heat and allow it to cool. Strain out spices.
- To make the preparation easier, you can make the spiced syrup in advance and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep well for future cocktails.
- Look for fresh apple cider from a local apple orchard if you have one nearby.
- Use mulled cider or spiked hot apple cider instead of regular apple cider for an interesting warm apple cider cocktail variation. The spiced apple cider will have a slightly different depth of flavor.
- Try out various kinds of bourbon or whiskey to discover the flavor that suits your taste. Experiment with fireball whiskey or spiced rum, depending on what suits your palette best.
- To make a non-alcoholic version, substitute the bourbon with apple juice or sparkling water in an equal amount for a refreshing twist.
- Pair this drink with warm autumn or winter dishes like apple and brie grilled cheese, apple pie, cinnamon rolls, gingerbread, or pumpkin-flavored desserts.
- This cocktail’s flavors can complement fall/autumn salad ingredients like roasted butternut squash, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and goat cheese.
- For an extra touch, consider rimming the serving glass with ground cinnamon sugar before pouring in the cocktail for a festive presentation.