This Apple Cider Martini recipe definitely screams "fall"! With fresh apple cider, vodka, Amaretto, and a hint of cardamom, this is such a delicious drink for crisp autumn afternoons. It's easy to make, and a great way to enjoy some cider after a long afternoon of apple picking.
Since apple cider is mostly only available in the fall, this definitely makes the perfect seasonal fall cocktail. This makes a great holiday cocktail and is perfect for Thanksgiving too!
What is the difference between Apple Cider and Apple Juice?
Apple cider is made from fresh-pressed apples, and usually looks cloudy (especially after you shake it up!) It has a bunch of fine apple particles left in the liquid. Because it's not filtered, it has a stronger apple flavor. But, it also doesn't last as long and needs to stay refrigerated.
Apple juice is actually made from cider. It gets filtered to remove the apple particles, and is then pasteurized for longer shelf life. This results in a clearer, sweeter liquid with a milder apple taste.
Here are the ingredients you'll need for this drink:
- Apple cider - preferably fresh and local apple cider if you can find it.
- Vodka - you can use your favorite vodka here, but no need to break the bank as most of the flavor here comes from the apples and spices. I used Tito's vodka.
- Amaretto - this almond liqueur brings some sweetness and a warm flavor to the drink. I used Disaronno Amaretto.
- Cardamom bitters - cardamom is a spice that goes so well with apples. I used The Bitter Housewife cardamom bitters, which also has a touch of cinnamon in it.
- Cinnamon sugar - this is to add to the rim of the glass.
- Apple slice - for garnish.
- Cinnamon stick - for garnish.
Here are some ways you can substitute the ingredients in this cocktail:
- Apple cider - you can use apple juice, but I suggest trying out apple cider concentrate instead for a better flavor. For this recipe, you would use ¼ ounce of concentrate mixed with 1¾ ounces water.
- Vodka - you can use a flavored vodka instead of plain, like caramel vodka, vanilla vodka or ginger vodka.
- Amaretto - instead of Amaretto, you can try another liqueur. A cinnamon liqueur like Mr Stacks cinnamon schnapps would work, or try out ABK6 Cinnamon Cognac from Total Wine.
- Cardamom bitters - if you don't have these bitters, you can omit them. Or, try using Hella brand ginger bitters instead. You can also try using a pinch of cinnamon in the cocktail shaker.
- Cinnamon sugar - you can make your own cinnamon sugar by mixing regular sugar with cinnamon. Try adding 1 part cinnamon to 4 parts sugar. Or, just use brown sugar to coat the rim instead.
- Apple slice and cinnamon stick - these are optional, so just omit if you don't have them.
Here are some variations on this recipe:
- Butterscotch - try using a butterscotch schnapps, like DeKuyper Buttershots, for more of a buttery caramel flavor.
- Caramel - instead of using the apple or water to wet the rim of your glass, try using a caramel sauce, like Torani Puremade Caramel. While you're at it, use a wedge of a caramel apple instead of a plain apple slice for garnish!
- More cinnamon flavor - try using cinnamon simple syrup instead of the Amaretto for a stronger cinnamon flavor.
- Non-alcoholic version - if you're avoiding alcohol, you can just replace the vodka with additional apple cider. Try out this Monin Maple Spice syrup in place of the Amaretto. You can also use non-alcoholic bitters, like Fee Brothers cardamom bitters.
- Sparkling Cider - instead of using fresh cider, try using sparkling apple cider instead. Shaking with ice would reduce the carbonation, so if you want to try this, stir the vodka, Amaretto and bitters with ice. Strain them into the glass and top it off with the sparkling cider.
You'll need just a few basic bar tools to make this, like a jigger, a cocktail shaker, and a large martini glass.
A small dish to hold the cinnamon sugar will come in handy too!
Start out by preparing your garnishes. Cut a slice out of an apple, and then cut a slit in it that you'll use to attach it to the glass rim. Set it aside.
Use the rest of the apple to rub around the rim of your glass to get it wet.
Dip the rim of your glass into the cinnamon sugar, turning to coat the whole glass.
Set the glass aside. Then, add your Amaretto to the cocktail shaker.
Add the vodka and the apple cider to the cocktail shaker.
Add the cardamom bitters, and then fill the shaker with ice.
Seal up the cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously about 15 to 20 times. Then, strain the drink into the prepared martini glass.
Add your apple slice to the rim of the glass, and then add a whole cinnamon stick to the glass as another garnish. Serve and enjoy!
Hint: If you want to chill your cocktail glass, I recommend adding the sugar rim, and then putting it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Or, chill it first, then add the rim and put it back in the fridge while you make the drink.
Frequently Asked Questions
Apple cider is great with lots of different alcohol! Vodka is a great one to mix with since it lets the cider flavor shine through. Apple brandy is always good, and rum or whiskey would work great too.
Apple cider is great to mix with spirits like vodka, but it also goes well with lots of liqueurs. Amaretto, Irish cream, or butterscotch schnapps work really well.
Top tip - Batching
This is a great drink to make a big batch of for a fall celebration! Just multiply all the ingredients by the number of cocktails you want to make, and add in ½ ounce of water per cocktail (or you could add in additional apple cider instead).
Mix everything in a large pitcher and keep it in the fridge. You can mix it ahead of time, even a day or two ahead. Add the sugar rim to each glass and a cinnamon stick, and set the pitcher out over ice for your guests to enjoy.
Apple Cider Martini
- Small dish (for cinnamon sugar)
- Knife and cutting board (if making apple slice garnish)
- Cut a slice of fresh apple and then cut a slit in the apple. The slit is where you will attach it to the rim of the glass. Set it aside.
- Use either some water or the cut apple to wet the rim of your cocktail glass.
- Add the cinnamon sugar to your small dish and dip the rim of the glass into the cinnamon sugar. Turn the glass and re-dip to coat the whole rim.
- Set the glass aside while you make the drink.
- Add the apple cider, vodka, Amaretto and cardamom bitters to a cocktail shaker.
- Fill the shaker with ice.
- Shake well, about 15-20 good shakes.
- Strain the drink into your prepared glass.
- Add the apple slice to the rim of your glass, and add in the cinnamon stick before serving.