12 Liquors To Mix With Apple Cider

Apple cider is a delicious fall drink with naturally cozy flavor notes and warm spices like cinnamon and anise. For this reason, it is a favorite beverage during the holiday season and evokes images of pumpkin patches, hay rides, cozy sweaters, and crisp autumn days and nights. Whether you prefer to drink apple cider over ice or warm it up, you can mix it with a range of liquors, liqueurs, and even sparkling wine to create a fun adult cocktail full of flavor and depth.

If you've never spiked your apple cider before, you may be surprised at the abundance of alcohol that tastes great with it, and once you give it a try, you may never turn back. Of course, you could always choose fermented cider to make a mulled apple cider drink without adding another alcohol, but where's the fun in that?

When selecting the perfect alcohol to mix with apple cider, I tapped into my 20 years of bartending and serving experience and my love for spiked apple cider. Keep reading to learn about all the different types of alcohol you can use to enhance the taste of your favorite apple cider and create a boozy twist on this classic drink.

Bourbon and whiskey

Bourbons and whiskeys are, quite possibly, the best alcohols to mix with apple cider. Essentially, they are the same type of liquor, but bourbon comes from Kentucky, and whiskey comes from various places worldwide. There are a few other minor differences, but you get the idea. Either way, they have a sweet, spicy taste that creates a fantastic cocktail when mixed with apple cider.

Both bourbon and whiskey also contain elements of caramel and vanilla, which go nicely with the cinnamon and apple flavors of cider. To create a more elaborate boozy apple cider cocktail, mix cider with whiskey and sparkling cider, then finish it with a cinnamon rim. Or, you can make a playful rendition of a classic with an apple cider hot toddy.

In addition to regular whiskeys and bourbons, several flavored options can create even more unique cocktails. For example, Fireball has a sweet cinnamon flavor that tastes great straight but is even better when mixed with apple cider. The cinnamon in both drinks accentuates each other while giving the resulting cocktail a tasty, potent kick. Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey is another incredible option, especially for those who prefer sweeter drinks. You can also find salted caramel and peanut butter whiskeys in some stores, and while they may seem challenging to mix, apple cider is undeniably delicious with either option.

Spiced rum

Spiced rums are a long-standing favorite for tropical drinks, but they also make an incredible addition to apple cider. Spiced rums vary in sweetness and spiciness, but, in general, they all feature a somewhat sugary taste and a touch of heat to complement the warm undertones and spices found in apple cider.

Some of the most common spiced rums include Sailor Jerry and Captain Morgan. Both are reasonably priced and widely available. If you prefer a top-shelf selection, an abundance of boutique spiced rums pair exceptionally well. Best of all, they may leave you with less of a hangover if you accidentally overdo it.

Kraken Black Spiced Rum is a fantastic option if you enjoy smooth rums with lots of flavor. It is made with a secret blend of spices, and while we can't be sure what they are, they blend well with apple cider. Regular rum also pairs nicely with apple cider, but the turned-up flavor of its spiced counterpart is the superior option when available.


Vodka is perhaps an unexpected liquor pairing with apple cider, but it's an exceptional choice. One of the reasons for this is vodka's subtle taste. It doesn't have a pronounced flavor, so it blends well with almost any other beverage, including apple cider, while giving it a potent kick. Vodka also has a mild aroma, allowing the spices and warm scents of apple cider to shine through a mixed drink without becoming the prominent smell or taste. If you aim to spike your apple cider without changing its flavor too much, vodka is the solution. This spirit can be found in various potencies and price ranges and is available in any bar or store that sells alcohol.

In addition to the toned-down taste of regular vodka, many flavored vodkas also make a fantastic addition to apple cider. For example, caramel, raspberry, orange, or even pineapple vodkas go well with cider's spices and strong apple taste. If you like candied apples, Smirnoff Kissed Caramel takes the recipe to a whole new, adult-friendly level — and eliminates a sticky mess, which is often unavoidable when eating one.

Sparkling wine

Sparkling wines are arguably one of the best alcohols to add to apple cider. First, they add a touch of bubbles, resulting in a light, effervescent cocktail. Sparkling wines also do a great job balancing the sweetness of apple cider without adding a lot of additional flavors.

You'll often hear people referring to all sparkling wines as Champagne. However, many different types of sparkling wines exist, all with their own name and distinct tastes. The specific kind of sparkling wine refers to the region it was grown in and, of course, the grape varietal. With all the different options available, make sure to pick a bottle that aligns with your preferences.

When looking for the perfect sparkling wine to mix into apple cider, prosecco and cava are excellent choices if you prefer a light, floral, fruity flavor. Champagnes are good if you want exemplary quality and a variety of tastes. Traditionally, Champagnes are pretty sweet, but a whole range of sweetness levels are available today. If you prefer a dryer version, pick a brut. Or, if you want a balance of sweet and dry, opt for a Champagne Sec. Whatever you choose, remember that most apple ciders contain a fair amount of sugar and sweetness, so it is easy to make this cocktail overly sweet if you don't choose the right sparkling wine.


RumChata is a unique spirit made with Caribbean rum, Mexican spices, and dairy. It is essentially the adult version of horchata, a favorite Mexican drink made with cinnamon, sugar, and rice milk. While RumChata is tasty to drink as-is, when mixed with apple cider, it creates a deliciously sweet and flavorful cocktail perfect as a dessert drink or for anyone who loves sugary flavored cocktails.

The cinnamon in RumChata brings out the cinnamon notes found in most apple ciders while also bringing the sweetness of both drinks to the forefront. As a result, it is a wonderful option for mixing with dryer ciders with a stronger bite. The creaminess of RumChata also tones down the spiciness of some apple ciders, which people may find somewhat overbearing. So, if you want to mellow out your apple cider while still keeping its strong cinnamon and sugar flavors, RumChata makes the perfect boozy addition.


Drambuie, known as the Isle of Skye Liqueur, is a unique golden-colored spirit made from Scotch whisky and a blend of spices. It features elements of honey, clove, orange zest, vanilla, raisin, toasted almonds, and more, all of which complement the taste of apple cider. It also has a velvety, smooth texture that helps tone down the zestiness of potent apple ciders with lots of clove and cinnamon.

If you enjoy whiskey, you should try spiking your apple cider with Drambuie the next time you feel up to trying something different and complex. Combining the two drinks creates a warm mix with rich flavors and an incredible depth. This cocktail is delicious when served over ice or heated up, either of which is tasty and comforting on cold days and crisp winter nights. However, if you typically do not enjoy dark liquors, this one may not be your perfect pairing.

Orange liqueur

Orange and apple flavors go together quite well. Therefore, it makes sense that apple cider and orange liqueurs would blend nicely. The cinnamon and clove notes in many apple ciders also create a great mix when paired with orange flavors, further enhancing their compatibility. Orange liqueurs are also zesty, fresh, and sweet and often have hints of floral elements, making for a rich combination when paired with the spices in apple cider.

One of the best things about combining orange liqueur with apple cider is that it is incredibly easy to find. It also is inexpensive and comes in a wide range of different brands, so you're sure to find one you enjoy. The most common orange liqueur is triple sec, one of the primary ingredients used to make margaritas. While triple sec is a good option for apple cider, many people find a top-shelf option like Grand Marnier or Cointreau much more flavorful and enjoyable. Grand Marnier, in particular, has a slightly bitter taste that balances out the sweetness of many apple ciders while lending a unique, sugary flavor of its own thanks to being made from French Cognac.

Raspberry liqueur

Apple and raspberry make an iconic flavor pairing. They have just the right combination of sweet and tart for most palates. In addition, the spices in apple cider also pair well with raspberry, making it a one-two flavor punch all around. While not as popular as it once was, raspberry liqueur is still available in bars. It is also easily attainable at liquor stores — or anywhere else you can buy alcohol. Remember, raspberry liqueurs can be pretty sweet and sugary, so a little goes a long way when mixing it into apple cider. Too much, and you may find the mix too sweet.

The most recognizable raspberry liquor is Chambord. This spirit has a distinct black raspberry taste but also features hints of blackcurrants and blackberries, leading to a deliciously smooth, refined flavor perfect for apple cider-based cocktails. Of course, the elevated flavor and prominence of Champbord also lead to a slightly steeper price tag. It is not all that expensive, but when compared to other lesser-known raspberry liqueurs, the jump in price is noticeable.

If you are looking for a cheaper option, you shouldn't have any issues finding one. Even if you haven't heard of a particular brand, its raspberry flavor is the necessary component. Plus, the potent taste of apple cider will drown out any harshness, so you don't have to worry about trying something new.


Nutty liqueurs like Frangelico also taste exceptionally delicious when mixed with apple cider. Frangelico has a smooth hazelnut aroma and flavor that stands out in apple cider without overpowering the other blend of spices. In addition, it has subtle elements of vanilla and a mix of herbs that complement cinnamon and clove, creating a rich overall taste. Of course, Frangelico is also sweet, so it is extra tasty if you like sweet cocktails or want to add sugar to enhance drier apple cider.

Frangelico also has a light golden color that doesn't detract from the color of apple cider. It will be hard to notice based on appearance alone when mixed with unfiltered ciders. Finally, Frangelico makes a good choice for hot and cold apple cider cocktails. However, its toasty hazelnut flavor is particularly delicious with hot apple cider. If needed, mix in a touch of lemon to brighten the flavor and balance out the cinnamon, clove, and anise elements in cider.


Amaretto is another tasty, nutty liqueur that mixes well with apple cider; it has a strong almond taste and a gentle sweetness. Some brands also include hints of apricot or peach, giving them a richer, deeper flavor. Amaretto is originally from Saronno, Italy, but it is easy to find numerous different styles today. It may not be the most popular sweet liqueur on the market, but many bartenders believe it is essential for any bar setup.

The most common and recognizable amaretto is Disaronno Originale. Aside from being a timeless classic, Disaronno has a smooth texture and an intense nose to perfectly complement apple cider while adding an unexpected layer of rich flavor. Another popular brand is Amaretto Di Amore. This liqueur is similar to Disaronno in the flavor department but has a reduced price tag. If you are somewhat unsure of how you'll feel about mixing a nutty liqueur with apple cider — or haven't tried amaretto before — opting for a less expensive brand like Di Amore is recommended to ensure you like it before spending a lot on a bottle you may not enjoy.

Peach schnapps

Peach and apple flavors work together wonderfully, so it is easy to see how peach schnapps and apple cider can make a fantastic cocktail. Not only do the fruits blend well, but the cinnamon and other spices in apple cider also complement the sweetness of peaches, leading to a delicious mixed drink. Conveniently, peach schnapps is widely available in liquor stores, making this spirit simple to obtain. You are likely to have your pick of several brands, some of which are sweeter than others. Whatever bottle you choose, its crisp, sugary taste makes an incredible addition to your favorite apple cider.

Like many other liqueurs, peach schnapps is exceptionally sweet. Therefore, it makes a great addition to cocktails but typically is not used as the primary alcohol. For example, a Sex on the Beach contains peach schnapps and vodka. However, thanks to the complex flavor profile of apple cider, it makes a fantastic lead alcohol for those who don't want a potent drink but still want something flavorful with a bit of a kick.

Apple liqueur

While a bit on the nose, apple liqueur also makes an excellent addition to apple cider. While it may not change the flavor much, it enhances the potency. Depending on the brand of apple liqueur, it will likely add a considerable amount of sweetness to the mix. Plus, apple liqueur typically has a lower alcohol content than whiskey, rum, or vodka, so it is an excellent option if you want a little taste of alcohol but do not want a super boozy drink.

The most well-known apple liqueur is Dekuyper Sour Apple Pucker. This spirit is often stocked in bars, where it's commonly used to make appletinis. However, it also lends its depth and bright flavors to apple cider. In addition to making apple cider much sweeter, apple liqueur boasts a sour taste that gives the drink complexity. Sour Apple Pucker also has a bright green color to add eye-catching appeal to your cocktail.

If you want to avoid artificial flavors and colors, Siegburg Apfel Apple Schnapps Liqueur makes a great choice. Its flavor profile is milder and crisper than Pucker and doesn't have a boozy taste. As a result, it is easier to drink and won't overpower the spices and other flavors found in apple cider.