Bourbon Apple Cider

bourbon apple cider

I’ve really been into red wine lately. I finally bought us some grown-up red wine glasses last weekend, which we haven’t owned since our wedding presents broke like 10 years ago so we’ve been drinking it out of tiny cheap thrift store wineglasses because we break everything around here (kids. I blame the kids. Even though they don’t drink wine.)

And then last weekend I went to this happy, happy place

And after spending 15 minutes visualizing the fabulous parties with clinky glasses and people saying, “Dahling, it’s been ages” (or whatever it is people say at these things. I don’t really know.) I got a little heady and bought two grown-up red wine glasses like I was J-Lo or something.

But then sometimes it’s -14 ° outside and you can’t feel your feet even in your heated house and you need something to warm you up from the top of your head to the bottom of those frostbitten toes. You need warm, fuzzy, totally spiked apple cider. In a mug you can wrap your hands around and hold your face over so the steam comes up and…ahhhhhh.

This cider recipe is solid on its own, so if you want, you can skip the bourbon step and just serve up the cider and everyone will be happy. And if you’re in a hurry, you don’t have to let the cider simmer for 30 minutes…just heat everything through and serve it. But if you have the time, that extra half an hour lets all those spices really get cozy and yum everything up in there. I’m all for it.

You don’t need a lot of bourbon in this. Just enough to taste. The first time I made it, I was about to put in a full shot, and my husband about fell off his chair laughing. So I toned it down a bit, and I don’t regret it. I’m too old to be messing about with too much bourbon. Good heavens.

Bourbon Apple Cider

Bourbon Apple Cider


  • 2 liters apple juice
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 Tb whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 orange, sliced, with peel on
  • 1/4 c bourbon


  1. Combine all ingredients except bourbon in a stockpot.
  2. Stir over medium-low heat.
  3. Let simmer 30 minutes.
  4. To Serve:
  5. Pour 1/2 shot (approximately 0.75 oz) bourbon in the bottom of each mug.
  6. Strain cider mixture through a tea strainer or fine colander and fill each mug.
  7. Garnish with an orange slice and cinnamon stick.
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