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Help with bourbon & cider cocktail

Our office is having our holiday party at this restaurant (on Charles St) and I'd like to try a bourbon cocktail similar to one I had at the Ashmont Grill that involved cider syrup and bitters.

I'm usually a wine drinker so don't feel comfortable ordering "off the menu" cocktails. Would regular cider be a reasonable substitute if they don't have cider syrup?

Does anyone have a good recipe for a bourbon/cider drink that isn't a hot drink?

I also liked a bourbon Sidecar so I guess that's a reasonable back-up choice or something involving bourbon, lemon or cider.........

Also posted this on the "spirits" board.

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  1. Add bourbon to cold cider

    add ice

    Optional: dust with cinnamon and/or nutmeg



    6 Replies
    1. re: StriperGuy

      It's funny - that's my recipe also... except I frequently omit the cider.

      1. re: tdaaa

        Open Bourbon

        Pour over Ice

        Throw away apple cider


        1. re: tdaaa

          ... and throw the cinnamon over your shoulder...

          I think I have a fruitcake recipe you would like.

          1. re: tdaaa

            And sometimes you omit the ice too?

          2. re: StriperGuy

            Sometimes I'll top it off with a splash of ginger beer.

            1. re: phatchris

              I've started adding about half homemade ginger beer to my cider cocktails since all I can find is pasteurized cider (aka cloudy apple juice). It really makes the flavor sparkle the way good cider should.

          3. I've made a cider syrup for a cocktail, too, but it tends to be used in "up" drinks like Sidecar variants. For an office party, better to not get people stinko: a simple punch that's a bit less strong is a better idea. Bourbon (or Tennessee whiskey, gold rum, brandy, applejack, or Canadian whisky) and cider fits this bill nicely.


            1. Wise guys eh......................?

              1. This should work - quite delicious in fact

                Perfect Harvest
                (adapted recipe from Eben Klemm)
                1 1/2 oz Hirsch Small Batch Reserve Kentucky Bourbon
                1/2 oz Luxardo Amaretto Liqueur
                1/2 oz honey
                spiced apple cider

                Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.

                4 Replies
                1. re: coolhandluke

                  Absolutely NO reason to use fru fru bourbon in a punch with as many flavorful ingredients as that.

                  You could not possibly taste the difference between $30 a (750 ml) bottle Hirsch and $25 a handle (1.75L) Jim Beam.

                  That said, looks like a decent punch.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    I agree with Striperguy, no need to use a top notch bourbon in a mixed drink. I would, however insist on the Luxardo Amaretto as it is FAR superior in taste to DiSarrono (sp?), and does make a noticable difference in a mixed drink.

                    1. re: kimfair1

                      I agree on the Luxardo. I have lately been making Mai Tais and use half almond syrup and half Luxardo Amaretto.

                  2. ask the bartender to throw a splash of B&B in there...

                    1. Cider syrup and cider aren't anywhere close to each other in consistency or taste. Cider syrup is literally apple cider boiled down to the consistency of maple syrup, and it's so intense a flavoring that you tend to use it about a tablespoonful at a time. You can certainly have some lovely drinks with apple cider in them, but they won't taste like a cocktail made with cider syrup.

                      On the other hand, we have a bottle of cider syrup in the pantry and it never even occurred to me to use it in cocktails. Hmmm...

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        I am intrigued by this idea of cider syrup, as I have not heard of it's use in cocktails before. What is it? Is there i commercially available standard, or is this something you make yourself? Simply boil down cider until it is like maple syrup, or add sugar as well?

                        1. re: jerryc123

                          We have boiled cider because my wife uses it in cooking -- it's particularly nice in dishes like braised cabbage, where it adds both sweetness and a more mellow sharpness than, say, apple cider vinegar would. It's also an essential ingredient in any apple dessert.

                          We buy it from King Arthur Flour:


                          $10.95 a pint seems spendy, but trust me: a little goes a long, long way.

                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                            Yes, cider syrup is quite a different thing from cider, either sweet or hard. Not only is it more concentrated, with a syrupy consistency, but it's quite tart.

                            I use it in my apple pies and crisps, as well as in braised red cabbage and pork dishes, but I strongly encourage Barmy to see what he can do with it in combination with bourbon or with applejack and/or rum...

                            1. re: Allstonian

                              Thanks to both of you... I thought I had tried most cider-related products, but this is a new one for me. Sounds like the new england version of balsamic vinegar.

                              1. re: Allstonian

                                Interest piqued.
                                I've googled to find cider syrup recipes and all seem to have butter as an ingredient. Can I make it w/o? Anyone have a decent recipe?

                                1. re: isadorasmama

                                  Careful: boiled cider (what we've been casually referring to as cider syrup here) and the cider syrup that you see web recipes for aren't the same thing.

                                  Boiled cider, which is what I propose using as a cocktail ingredient, is nothing but apple cider boiled down to a syrup. I wouldn't recommend trying to make it because it would take forever and you'd get a meager yield for the money: I recommend the product in the King Arthur link above instead.

                                  Cider syrup, on the other hand, is something to put on pancakes and oatmeal. I wouldn't recommend it for drinks, because it would be way too sweet.

                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                    I did have a very good cocktail at Trina's Starlite Lounge with buttered bourbon and maple syrup, so perhaps you could do some version of that with cider syrup?

                                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                      You make an important distinction.I recently read about boiled cider and wanted to make my own.A Google search also yielded results for apple cider syrup,which as you point out is to be used with food.Bolied cider is just that and easy to make.I had a 1/2 gallon of unopened apple cider from Thanksgiving.I just boiled it down to about 16 oz. Nothing else added.It is a syrupy consistency and delicious in cocktails,mocktails and I'm sure lots of other things.Still experimenting,but I've tried it with bourbon,vodka and rum.Just a tablespoon and it gives a drink nice,deep apple flavor.

                                2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                  Hmmmmmmmm, thanks for the info. I may turn into a bourbon/cider syrup fiend this winter!

                                  1. re: mtm7654

                                    Since Allstonian's dinner plans are well-suited to a cider syrup cocktail, I believe I shall go downstairs and ponder what to make with cider syrup and various brown liquors. I will report back with the results.

                                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                      Report #1:

                                      2 oz. Knob Creek bourbon
                                      1/2 oz boiled cider
                                      two dashes Peychaud's bitters

                                      Stir with ice in highball glass. Top with seltzer.

                                      Verdict: very nice indeed. Interestingly, Allstonian and I had exactly the same response on our first sips: "Where's the apple...ah, THERE it is!" The apple cider flavor is subtle on the first sip, and then it blooms. It melds beautifully with the sweetness of the bourbon. You could arguably go as high as 3/4 oz on the boiled cider, but I'm not sure I would.

                                      I'm sure it would also be nice over rocks without the fizz, but I was of a mood for a highball. I think rye will be the next candidate.

                                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                        Question for you-after hearing that KAF sold cider syrup I looked it up and saw that they sell cider maple syrup too. Do you know if that's the same cider syrup but with maple syrup added? Would that work in a drink? I love maple syrup so the possibilites are interesting..........guess I could experiment as you did!

                                        1. re: mtm7654

                                          I think it would be more like maple syrup with a little boiled cider added.

                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                            Yeah, they don't specify the ratios. Here's a novel idea..........I could ask them! Thanks.

                                        2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                          Bumping this old thread to say thanks, guys! We had a huge amount of cider on hand, so I made boiled cider with a little more than 1/2 a gallon if it; just boiled it, then reduced the heat to a bare simmer and cooked for hours, stirring often, til it was syrupy. It's a gorgeous thing-full of sweet tart intense apple flavor. Last night, after making and canning 4 gallons of applesauce, my husband and I stuck the kids in front of the TV and sat down with a cocktail: 2 oz Maker's Mark, 1/2 oz boiled cider, on the rocks. Fabulous. We've decided this will be our new winter cocktail this year.

                              2. I don't know if this directly answers your question, because the bar might not be able to make this, but I'm thinking a spiced honey syrup would be really good in this, if it wouldn't make things too sweet. Maybe just a splash. Either that, or spice the cider itself.

                                Somehow, I'm also thinking that a little dash of absinthe / pastis, or green chartreuse might be interesting, but maybe that's because your question is reminding me of the Death & Co (from the most recent Imbibe in their holiday cocktail special, named in honor of the NY bar, but not created by them):
                                This is a delicious cold, yet "warming" holiday drink.

                                I didn't include the exact details of the honey syrup, but I did mention the spices used, and it's a 1:1 honey:water ratio.

                                The most recent Imbibe has a whole spread of holiday cocktail and punch recipes, all of which look delicious. Highly recommend checking this issue out for ideas like the above.

                                1. Up the ante from plain sweet apple cider to hard cider, and make a "Stone Fence" an Old(e) American drink:

                                  2 ounces of bourbon (or rum, my favorite and the traditional addition for this drink) over ice in a tall glass; fill with hard cider.
                                  Repeat and you'll find out how this beverage got its name.

                                  1. Pour bourbon in glass, add ice. Sip while thinking of an apple - I know, 10 yards for piling on. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

                                    Really though a "Bad Apple" as I know it is a good drink. 1.5oz bourbon (DON'T use your good stuff), 2.5oz apple cider, and ice. Very nice.

                                    1. forget cider all together...
                                      Carve up 3-6 honeycrisp apples and give them a good long soak in your choice bourbon. After a few days just add ice and a cinnamon stick, booze-hound cider! Or... make some pie spice bitters for a fun take on Manhattan.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: johnathan_obrien

                                        i love the idea of just soaking apples in booze... so much easier than shelpping out for a bottle of apple cider.

                                        Has anyone actually tried this? I have apples that need a home, and it ain't applesauce.