Make the most of the fall and enjoy the season’s best flavors with this spiced apple cider martini in hand! Prepared with vodka, ginger liqueur, freshly squeezed lemon juice and real maple syrup, this apple cider cocktail is sure to put you and your guests in a fun and festive mood. You can shake up this fall martini in just a few minutes, and this recipe includes a make-ahead batching option for easy entertaining.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Fall is here, and that means we need plenty of fun and festive seasonal cocktails to enjoy this joyous time of year. One sip of this apple cider martini and you’ll want to make it every chance you get for so many reasons.
- Makes the perfect signature cocktail from the fall months through the holiday season with its medley of warm spices.
- Full of fresh apple flavor.
- Easy yet elegant to make you look like an expert mixologist.
- Great for batching to serve for a crowd.
- Feels like you're sipping on farm-to-table cocktail in a New England apple orchard.
Fresh apple cider: I recommend using a spiced apple cider for a richer fall flavor. Some apple ciders are made without added spices, so you’ll miss out on those fall flavors.
Please note that this recipe calls for nonalcoholic cider, not hard cider.
Ginger liqueur: I’m especially partial to Domaine de Canton. It has the perfect balance of sweetness and spice.
Maple syrup: Make sure you use real maple syrup, not that fake pancake syrup.
Orange bitters: This adds some balance with all those sweeter ingredients. You can order orange bitters online or find a bottle at a well-stocked liquor store.
Caramel rim: Along with the drink ingredients, I love serving this drink with a caramel rim coated in brown sugar and cinnamon. While this is optional, we need caramel sauce, brown sugar and ground cinnamon.
Prepare the Spiced Caramel Rim
Step 1: To prepare that gorgeous rim, we pour some caramel syrup onto a small plate and mix together brown sugar with a pinch of cinnamon together on another plate. We then dip the serving glass into the caramel and then swirl the rim of the glass in the brown sugar mixture (photo 1).
Mix the Martini
Step 2: For our drink, we add the apple cider, vodka, ginger liqueur, lemon juice, maple syrup, a few dashes of orange bitters and a handful of ice to a cocktail shaker (photo 2).
Step 3: Now we secure the cocktail shaker top and shake the drink vigorously (photo 3).
Step 4: After shaking, we remove the cocktail shaker top and strain the drink into a chilled martini glass (photo 4). A coupe glass also works.
Garnish the Glass
Step 5: To add a pretty touch, we finish our drink with a fresh apple slice garnish (photo 5). A cinnamon stick also makes a nice addition.
In just a few easy steps, our apple cider martini is ready for sipping by the fire. Enjoy those flavors of fall and fresh apple taste.
How to Make a Pitcher of Martinis
If you plan on serving this drink for a fall party, here’s how to make a big batch.
- Stir together the ingredients in a larger pitcher.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. If we refrigerate longer than that, the lemon will start to dull in flavor.
- Before serving, stir the cider again and then shake as originally directed. We still want to shake to give the drink the proper aeration and dilution.
You can find the measurements for a pitcher in the recipe card.
Unfiltered apple cider is best. As the name suggests, filtered apple cider runs through a cycle to remove the solids and pulp while unfiltered apple cider retains them. This makes unfiltered apple cider much richer in taste, and it’s still plenty smooth to make for a nice mouthfeel.
For the best flavor, I do not recommend using apple juice instead of unfiltered apple cider. Apple juice is even more processed than filtered apple cider, so we’d miss out on the more complex flavor of unfiltered apple cider.
You can easily turn this into an apple cider mocktail. For the vodka, use more apple cider or a zero-proof vodka, and substitute the ginger liqueur for a topper of ginger ale after shaking.
We have so many options here for putting that leftover cider to use. If you’d like more apple cider cocktails, whip up my apple cider margarita, apple cider old fashioned or apple cider-bourbon cocktail.
Apple cider is also great for cooking. You can use it to spritz smoked ribs, or it’s perfect in my apple cider pot roast and braised apple cider short ribs.
While it wouldn’t really be a martini, this drink tastes delicious hot or cold. To heat it, you can warm it on the stove.
Substitutions and Variations
Make it a sparkling apple cider martini: After straining, top the drink with a splash of ginger ale, ginger beer, club soda, Champagne or prosecco.
Swap the ginger liqueur: Matt and I had a few friends over to taste test this martini, and we tried three versions — one with only ginger liqueur, one with only triple sec and one with equal parts ginger liqueur and triple sec. While the ginger liqueur-only drink won, the others were still delicious.
Try another liquor: Not a vodka fan? Dark rum or reposado tequila would also work nicely. You can even use a flavored vodka, like caramel vodka or apple vodka, instead of regular vodka.
Use another sweetener: The maple syrup is lovely here, but you could also use my homemade pumpkin spice simple syrup to make it an apple-pumpkin martini for a different fall twist.
Substitute apple cider for pear cider: With that easy switch, you get two cocktail recipes — an apple martini and a pear martini.
Use fresh lemon juice: Bottled juice is no match in flavor or brightness. The best cocktails always use fresh lemon juice.
Chill your martini glasses: After dipping the glasses in caramel and the cinnamon sugar, store them rim-side down on parchment paper in the freezer for 30 minutes. Not only does this chill the glasses, but this also firms up the caramel sauce to prevent it from dripping down the side.
Make your own spiced apple cider: If your store only has plain apple cider, you can make your own mulled cider by simmering it with spices and allowing the mixture to cool.
Squeeze lemon juice on apple slice garnish: This keeps the apple from browning too quickly.
To enjoy this drink with dinner, we need the perfect fall meal. Try these chicken thighs stuffed with apple and cheddar and baked in a creamy garlic sauce.
Apple cider is also a classic pairing with pork. You’ll love this crispy pork schnitzel on the side.
Or maybe you’d like to sip this autumn martini with an apple dessert. These apple shortcakes, apple cupcakes, applesauce cookies and homemade hand pies with an apple filling are all wonderful options.
When you need the ultimate seasonal sipper, you’ll turn to this apple cider martini again and again. Enjoy those cozy fall vibes.
Sip on More Fall Drinks
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Spiced Apple Cider Martini
- 2 small, shallow plates
- Cocktail shaker
- Jigger or small measuring cup
- Handheld citrus juicer
- Caramel sauce for garnish, optional
- Brown sugar for garnish, optional
- Ground cinnamon for garnish, optional
- 2 ounces spiced apple cider
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce ginger liqueur
- ½ ounce real maple syrup
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2-3 dashes orange bitters
- 1 thin apple slice for garnish, optional
- For an optional spiced caramel rim, pour the caramel sauce on one shallow plate and stir together the brown sugar and ground cinnamon on the other shallow plate. Dip the rim of the martini glass into the caramel sauce and then swirl it in the brown sugar mixture. To chill and help prevent the caramel sauce from dripping, place the glasses rim-side down on a piece of parchment paper in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Add spiced apple cider, vodka, ginger liqueur, maple syrup, lemon juice, orange bitters and a handful of ice to a cocktail shaker.
- Secure the top and shake vigorously for 15-30 seconds.
- Strain into the chilled martini glass.
- If desired, garnish with an apple slice. Enjoy!
- To prevent the apple slice garnish from browning too quickly, you can sprinkle some fresh lemon juice over the fruit.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.