Signature Thanksgiving Cocktail: Bourbon Cider


Bourbon cider is the best cocktail I have made to date. Fresh apple cider, warm spiced bourbon, and rosemary simple syrup are shaken and poured over ice making the perfect signature Thanksgiving cocktail (or for this unusually warm November here in the city). Not that I’m complaining, but I was expecting chilly winds that lead to roasted chestnuts, hot toddies and warm ciders. Bourbon cider is the perfect signature thanksgiving cocktail for a fall dinner with friends, your Thanksgiving feast, or holiday party this season.


Bourbon cider is sweet, spiced, and refreshing with a hint of earthiness borrowed from the rosemary. When recipes are simple and call for few ingredients, you need to seek out the very best you can find to maximize deliciousness. I purchased my rosemary and fresh apple cider for my signature Thanksgiving cocktail from Migliorelli Farm at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. The cider was crisp and subtle and masked the strength of the nose on the bourbon just enough.


Rosemary simple syrup is insanely easy to make- I microwave equal parts water and sugar with sprigs of rosemary and allow it to cool for this earthy fall cocktail. Bourbon cider has all the sweet and spice of fall with savory and aromatic rosemary balancing the apple and autumn seasonal flavors. This Thanksgiving cocktail is easy to make and perfect for a signature holiday drink! The bourbon cider can easily be made into a punch for a large crowd too.


Signature Thanksgiving Cocktail: Bourbon Cider

Makes 1 cocktail, increase proportions as needed

  • 2 oz bourbon or rye
  • 1 oz fresh apple cider
  • ½ oz rosemary simple syrup
  • Splash club soda (or hard apple cider if you like)
  • Sprig rosemary for garnish

Make the rosemary simple syrup according to how much you would like on hand. I knew I was going to use more rosemary simple syrup the next day for my Baked Brie with Guava, so I made a larger batch than usual. For around 6-8 signature Thanksgiving cocktails pour 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water in a microwave safe bowl with a large fresh sprig of rosemary. I microwave the ingredients for 30 second intervals and stirred well after each set of 30 seconds up to 1 minute and 30 seconds or until the simple syrup is no longer cloudy and is clear (if you are making a larger batch microwave at 30 second intervals until clear). I let the rosemary simple syrup cool with the rosemary sprigs in it, and once cooled I replaced them with fresh sprigs which have a brighter color and flavor.


When the simple syrup is cool add the ingredients into a shaker over ice. Shake well, for about thirty seconds, and strain over fresh ice then top with a splash of club soda (or hard apple cider if you like to emphasize the apple flavor with some effervescence. Garnish the bourbon cider cocktail with a warm rosemary sprig. I run the rosemary over a lit lighter for around 20 seconds. Heat just until the rosemary is warm and aromatic, they should not light on fire. This step is very easy and enhances the bourbon cider cocktail especially the sweet apple and earthy profile.

If you want your cocktail to be sweeter or stronger simply manipulate the proportions to your liking. Remember cooking and bartending is all about experimentation and what you like. Everyone’s palate is different so have fun with it and find out what you like best.


*Note: If you want to make this as a pre-made punch for a crowd I would pour the entire bottle of bourbon or rye,  2 cups fresh apple cider, and 3/4-1 cup of the rosemary simple syrup. Stir together well and add a larger format bottle of hard apple cider and about 8 oz of club soda. Guests can pour over ice and you can have sprigs of rosemary ready on the side. I haven’t made this as a punch but I will closer to Thanksgiving and update on its success!!!


  1. I was looking for a signature cocktail for Thanksgiving and this looks very interesting! My daughter said she would make it💃Thanks I love cooking and you are great! I was a stay at home mother for 20 years and had a lot of Cooking time. My favorite Julia Child was an inspiration! I loved her! I have made many recipes. I have a collection of many cookbooks. My mother was Cuban also and my father was Irish so it was quite the interesting menu! I love all of the Cuban food! Oh I just love food. I have raised a family of 5 foodies! Now I went back to work and I work at the Publix bakery so my food skills paid off more than my college education!
    Love all of your
    PS I went to school with your momma and Aunt Lourdes

    1. Thank you so much for commenting Mary Ann! I would love to try some of your recipes too! I am kind of envious of your job at the Publix Bakery…I love everything from Publix! I would love to learn cake decorating and more baking skills too. Experimenting and cooking is so much fun, but sometimes I must admit I’ve made things that turned out horribly and had to do lots of trial and error. I’m sure your girls love your cooking! You will have to write down your recipes for them too. The thing that makes me happiest about my blog is making a ‘cookbook’ of my abuela’s recipes that anyone in my family and online can make too =)

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