Punchy Apple Cider Old-Fashioned Recipe You'll Fall in Love With

Get into the apple-picking spirit with this not-so-old-fashioned apple cider old-fashioned recipe.

Updated January 24, 2024
Apple Cider Old-Fashioned

We love a seasonal spin on a classic cocktail, especially an old-fashioned. How could a slightly sweet and aromatic drink with a deep flavor profile not outlast its port wine or cordial contemporaries? And with a few autumnal ingredients tossed into the original recipe, you can whip up an apple cider old-fashioned so good you'll throw your pumpkin-spiced drinks to the curb.

How to Make an Apple Cider Old-Fashioned

The classic old-fashioned has aged gracefully over the years, from its first iteration in the 19th century to today's fresh takes. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. Ring in sweater weather with this punchy apple cider old-fashioned that puts a spiced twist on the well-loved original. But if you can't handle the extra heat, tone down the spiced flavor by swapping out cinnamon simple syrup with regular.


  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1¾ ounces apple cider
  • ½ ounce cinnamon simple syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ice and king cube
  • Cinnamon stick for garnish


  1. In a mixing glass, add ice, bourbon, apple cider, cinnamon simple syrup, and both bitters.
  2. Stir rapidly to chill.
  3. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice or king cube.
  4. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Need to Know

Using a king cube helps to slow down dilution, so it's great for strong cocktails you're meant to sip on. With a drink like the old-fashioned, you want to sip all night long and not compromise its flavor.

5 Variations and Substitutions to Try 

There's beauty in the way you can change old-fashioned ingredients without upsetting the final drink's profile too much. If you're feeling inventive but don't want to take the training wheels off yet, try one of these creative variations. 

  • Add a splash of allspice dram for a more spiced old-fashioned.
  • Use a single dash of smoked bitters for a more complex flavor.
  • Replace the bourbon with applejack apple brandy or Crown Royal apple whisky for smooth apple flavor.
  • Try using a homemade brown sugar simple syrup or other infused simple syrups.
  • Give your cocktail an extra punch of apple flavor by making apple cider syrup. Simmer 1 cup of granulated sugar, ¼ cup of apple cider, and 2 chopped cinnamon sticks on low for 10 minutes until it reaches a syrupy consistency. Strain the cinnamon sticks from the mixture before adding to your cocktail. 

Related: Apple Cider With Spiced Rum: Recipes to Warm Up Your Night 

Garnishes That Give it the Ole Razzle Dazzle 

While this old-fashioned cocktail calls for a cinnamon stick, why not give it the ole razzle dazzle? Switch up the garnish to match your tastes, flavor profiles, or aesthetic mood of the moment. 

  • Go with a traditional orange peel and Luxardo cherry.
  • Add an apple slice.
  • Add an orange slice.
  • Add an orange twist. 
  • Top with a star anise. 
  • Add a touch of something unexpected like a sugar rim. 
  • Top it with some grated nutmeg or cinnamon. 

Enjoy Apple Picking the Old-Fashioned Way 

Apples and the old-fashioned are truly a crisp pairing. If you're looking for a cocktail with the warm and sweet notes of fall, the apple cider old-fashioned will deliver all you need in a single sip. Because when it's apple picking season, there's only one drink that's fresh on our minds. 

Punchy Apple Cider Old-Fashioned Recipe You'll Fall in Love With