When cold season hits I reach for bourbon. Because alcohol kills germs – maybe 😉 My current seasonal sipping situation is this warm, spiced apple cider hot toddy. It’s both sweet and tart, and even if it’s efficacy for germ killing is debatable, it’ll warm you up and delight your palette.
Approximately 90% of the time my approach to life is pretty simple, and usually involves cake. There are few problems that cannot be solved with cake. Typically not cake that I have personally made, but still. Cake. Good. Yes.
Then there’s that other 10% of the time, and that time has arrived. Snot season. Tiny humans with runny noses and snotty fingers and rosy cheeks and all of the germs. And that’s when I pivot towards bourbon. Because alcohol kills germs (no, not for them – for us).
And even if it doesn’t, bourbon makes cold season just that much more tolerable (dare I say pleasant) for parents and non-parents alike.
Because shots of bourbon are generally…ill-advised…I give you this apple cider hot toddy. It’s seasonal, it’s cozy, it’s sweet, it’s spiced, and it will warm you from head to bottom.
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You need only a handful of basic ingredients to whip up this cozy and comforting fall cocktail.
Apple Cider Hot Toddy Essential #1: Fresh Cider (Preferably Sugar Free)
This recipe starts with hot, extra spiced apple cider. When it comes to selecting apple cider, truly any brand is fair game, but I prefer a version that’s local (‘cuz that’s kind of our thing) and sugar free (to keep this cocktail more tart than sweet).
I simmer it for a few minutes with a couple of whole star anise and a cinnamon stick to infused it with spice throughout.
Apple Cider Hot Toddy Essential #2: Pure Maple Syrup
I sweeten this hot toddy with pure maple syrup because duh. Maple and cider are flavor BFFs. Pure maple syrup also has a nice kick of zinc, which is essential for keeping your immune system happy, so it very well could keep that runny nose in check.
Apple Cider Hot Toddy Essential #3: Good(ish) Bourbon
And then, of course, there’s the bourbon. I’m not exactly a bourbon afficionado, but I’ve picked up a few preference over the years.
For this cocktail I used Bulleit Bourbon. Bulleit has a nice balance of sweet and spice (probably a little more spice that most higher end sipping bourbons), making it an excellent toddy selection in general, and a fabulous apple cider hot toddy selection for the balance it brings to the tart cider. It’s also offered at a fairly reasonable price point and most likely available in your local liquor store.
How To Make an Apple Cider Hot Toddy
This warm and cozy winter bourbon cocktail is as easy as it gets.
Simply simmer the apple cider with cinnamon and star anise, and finish it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Pour it into a mug with some maple syrup and bourbon, then garnish at your pleasure – I use a cinnamon stick and an apple slice cuz they’re pretty. And that cinnastick makes for a cute, spicy straw.
This recipe is written for 2 servings but it can be easily scaled up and kept warm in a crockpot for a seasonal cocktail party offering.
Honey Bourbon Cocktail with Rosemary
Looking for more seasonal cocktails? Try this honey bourbon cocktail with rosemary. It’s just the right amount of sweet and savory to share with friends during a cozy and cool autumn evening cocktail hour.
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Apple Cider Hot Toddy with Maple Syrup
This apple cider hot toddy fall cocktail recipe is warm, soothing, sweet and spicy. It's a seasonal cocktail recipe that will warm you from head to toe.
- 1.5 c apple cider
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 whole cinnamon stick plus extra for garnish
- 1 lemon zested into strips and juiced
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 3 oz bourbon I like Bulleit Bourbon
- 2 apple slices optional
Combine the apple cider, star anise and cinnamon stick in a small sauce pot. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2-3 minutes, or until the cinnamon stick opens up. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Pour 1 tbsp maple syrup into the bottom of each mug. Then pour 1.5 oz of bourbon on top of the maple syrup. Top with half of the warm spiced apple cider, and stir to combine. Garnish with a lemon twist, apple slice, and cinnamon stick. Serve immediately.
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