Fall is finally here! I'm imbibing in all my favorite flavors this season, starting with an apple cider bourbon cocktail. It combines the delicious, festive taste of apple cider with cinnamon, honey and bourbon. Plus, this recipe has a really fun twist that takes it to the next level.
Aside from the amazing fall flavors, the really magical thing about this apple cider bourbon cocktail is the frozen apple slice in the middle. That was accomplished thanks to our sponsor, Tovolo, and their ice mold. They have a ton of different shapes and sizes of ice molds – all of which are designed to keep drinks colder, longer, since molds melt slower.
The concept is pretty simple: you fill the molds with liquid to a marked line inside, gently lower the silicone cap into the mold, and freeze it for 4-6 hours. Tovolo has calculated how much ice expands, so it will perfectly fill your mold. Then, run the mold under warm tap water on all sides, peel the silicone cap up and squeeze gently to release the ice mold.
In the case of the sphere mold that I chose for our bourbon apple cider, I cut a thin apple slice, sprinkled it with lemon to keep it from browning, and simply placed it in the mold before freezing. It turned out so cute!
The recipe below makes enough to fill two regular lowball glasses up to the top with the ice mold inside, but I like to fill it a bit less so that the sphere peeks out and draws your gaze to the apple. Presentation is everything, as they say.
You can also garnish this apple cider drink with a cinnamon stick or sprig of thyme. I love the use of sparkling cider to give this fall drink a bit of a lighter champagne vibe, but you're welcome to substitute that with fresh apple cider, apple juice, or even ginger beer or ginger ale.
I like to make extra honey simple syrup since I use it all throughout the season. Get some water boiling and add the honey in while over the stove and melt it thoroughly, but remove from heat as soon as it's all mixed so that the water doesn't boil away and leave you with an improper ratio that will thicken. You can also make an incredible syrup from brown sugar, if you want your drink to have a darker amber color and sweeter taste.
This is one of my favorite fall cocktails. I really love how the bourbon and lemon are mellowed out by the sweet flavors. My favorite apple pie recipe also uses lemon juice to add a bit of tang!
For the perfect fall touch, use a pretty, shiny cocktail shaker to mix up your apple cider cocktail. Guests are always so impressed, and I prefer the chill of drinks that have been given a quick shake with ice.
- 2 Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds
- 1 small apple
- 4 ounces sparkling apple cider
- 3 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- 1 ounce honey simple syrup (made by combining 1 Tbsp boiling water with 1 Tbsp honey and letting cool)
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- Sprig of thyme (optional)
- Cinnamon stick (optional)
1. Cut apple into vertical cross-section slices from top-to-bottom and insert one slice into each Tovolo sphere ice mold. Freeze for 4-6 hours, then remove ice molds and place each into a cocktail glass.
2. Fill a cocktail shaker with regular ice. Add bourbon, apple cider, lemon juice, simple syrup and cinnamon, and shake vigorously.
3. Strain the cocktail into the glasses, and serve. Garnish with thyme and cinnamon stick, if desired.
Even if a bourbon cocktail isn't your jam, ice molds add a fresh taste and sophisticated look to iced coffee and punch, too! Novelty molds – like their football or cat and dog ones – are the perfect conversation starter for games and parties. They can also be infused with berries, used for fun treats like popsicles, and Tovolo makes a couple different molds that are perfectly-designed to preserve herbs.
This cocktail would be the perfect way to celebrate after a day spent apple picking! If you find yourself with an excess of apples, you should definitely give our apple sugar scrub recipe a try, bake up our caramel apple bars, and make a witchy apple face snack for the kids to enjoy (or point and laugh at while cackling like they're right out of Salem, whatever).
Now that we're growing fruit trees at home, we don't need to go across town to pick them. We still totally do, though! There's nothing like a day spent amongst a huge orchard. Couple that with a day at the pumpkin patch, and you've got the perfect fall weekend.
Have you tried your hand at an apple cider bourbon cocktail? What are your favorite fall cocktails, or cocktail recipes for the cooler months?