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What’s The Best Best Bourbon for Apple Cider (2024 Updated)

Best Bourbons for Apple Cider

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Lydia Martin

While many people think of bourbon as a drink to be enjoyed on its own, the truth is that it can be a versatile ingredient in cocktails. When paired with apple cider, bourbon can take on a whole new flavor profile. 

Any bourbon will do, but some work better than others. Find out what’s the best bourbon for apple cider below.  

Top 8 Bourbons For Apple Cider 

1. Longbranch Bourbon 

Longbranch Bourbon

Longbranch bourbon is a unique spirit that brings together the best of bourbon and apple cider. The flavor profile is a balance of sweet and spicy, with notes of vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon and the taste is smooth and slightly sweet, with oak on the finish. 

Longbranch is perfect for sipping neat or on the rocks, and it also makes a great addition to cocktails like bourbon-apple cider. 

2. Henry McKenna Bib

Henry McKenna Bib

Henry McKenna Bib is a classic American bourbon that has been aged for ten years. It has a deep amber color and a rich flavor profile with oak, vanilla, and caramel notes.

Apple cider enhances the bourbon flavor and gives it a unique taste. The cider adds a touch of sweetness to the bourbon, while the oak and vanilla of the bourbon create a smooth and well-rounded flavor.

In addition, the apple cider can help to soften the harshness of higher-proof whiskeys, making them more approachable for new drinkers.

Whether you’re looking for a unique flavor profile or making your favorite spirit more palatable, adding a cider is always a good idea.

Read: How Long Will Cider Take To Deliver?

3. Elijah Craig Small Batch

Elijah Craig Small Batch

Elijah Craig Small Batch is one of the best bourbons for apple cider because it gives a unique take on the classic craft bourbon. Its flavor profile features oak, vanilla, and caramel notes, with a smooth finish that lingers on the palate. The mixer apple cider adds a touch of sweetness and acidity to the mix, making it the perfect fall sipper. 

4. Blanton’s Eagle Rare Red Eagle

Blanton’s Eagle Rare Red Eagle

Blanton’s Eagle Rare Red Eagle is a highly sought-after bourbon due to its unique flavor profile. The bourbon is made with a grain mash bill of corn, rye, and barley, giving it a complex flavor that is both sweet and spicy. Notes of vanilla and caramel are present, along with a hint of oak from the barrels it is aged in.

The bourbon is best enjoyed neat or with a light mixer such as apple cider. The cider also helps to bring out the flavors of the oak and vanilla. 

5. Evan Williams Black

Evan Williams Black

Evan Williams Black is a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey that gets its rich flavor profile from a unique grain mash bill. The taste is full-bodied and deeply warming, with vanilla, oak, and caramel notes.

Anyone who has tasted it will attest that Evan Williams Black is a delicious bourbon, especially when mixed with apple cider. It’s great for those who want a sweet and tart flavor with just a hint of alcohol.  

Read: Evan Williams & Jim Beam Comparison 

6. Heaven Hill Bourbon

Heaven Hill Bourbon

Heaven Hill Bourbon is a popular American whiskey known for its smooth flavor profile. The bourbon whiskey is made with a grain mash bill containing 78% corn, 10% rye, and 12% barley. 

The flavor of Heaven Hill Bourbon is characterized by notes of oak, vanilla, and caramel. When mixed with apple cider, these flavors create a refreshing and delicious drink.

7. Weller Special Reserve

Weller Special Reserve:Best Bourbon For Apple Cider

Weller Special Reserve is a wheated bourbon, which means that instead of using the more common rye in the grain mash bill, it uses locally grown wheat. The grain mash gives the bourbon a sweeter flavor profile with notes of vanilla and caramel. 

When mixed with apple cider, the bourbon flavor comes through, and the sweetness of the cider helps balance out the taste. The sweetness of the apple cider mirrors the caramel notes in the bourbon, while the acidity helps balance out the sweetness and bring out the vanilla flavor. 

8. Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey known for its distinct flavor profile. It has a complex flavor resulting from its unique aging process [1]. 

Woodford Reserve has a complex flavor like vanilla, caramel, and oak, with sweet fruit and spices notes. When mixed with apple cider, the bourbon flavor is mellowed and complemented by the sweetness and tartness of the apples. 

Read: Woodford Reserve & Bulleit Bourbon Comparison

What Does Bourbon Spiked Apple Cider Taste Like? 

Bourbon Spiked Apple Cider is a flavor combination that is becoming increasingly popular. The flavor profile of bourbon-spiked apple cider is sweet and spicy with a strong apple flavor. The bourbon taste is also evident, but it does not overwhelm the other flavors. 

The spices in the cider complement the bourbons’ sweetness, while the apple flavor helps balance out the drink’s booziness. The overall flavor is reminiscent of a freshly-baked pie. 


How Do You Choose The Right Bourbon? 

Barrel Proof Bourbons: Best Bourbon For Apple Cider

To choose the right bourbon, first, consider the flavor profile of the bourbon. Is it sweet, spicy, or smoky? Second, think about how the bourbon flavor will complement the taste of the apple cider. You don’t want the two flavors to compete with each other. 

Finally, take note of any other flavor notes in the bourbon that you think will pair well with the apples, such as vanilla or caramel. By taking these factors into account, you can be sure to choose a bourbon that will enhance the flavor of your cider.

What’s The Best Alcohol For Apple Cider?

When choosing the best alcohol for apple cider, several options can enhance the flavor profile. Dark rum, bourbon, and brandy are popular choices. The sweetness of the apple cider complements the rich and complex notes in these spirits. Vodka or flavored schnapps can also be used for a neutral base with a hint of additional flavor. Experimenting with different alcohols allows you to find the perfect balance that suits your taste preferences.

What is Spiked Apple Cider?

Spiked apple cider refers to the addition of alcohol to traditional apple cider, creating a warm and comforting beverage, especially popular during colder seasons. Popular choices for spiking apple cider include dark rum, whiskey, bourbon, or even flavored liqueurs like cinnamon schnapps or apple brandy. The alcohol adds depth and warmth to the cider, making it a delightful and festive drink for gatherings or cozy evenings.

Spiked Apple Cider is made by combining apple cider with a variety of spirits, including whiskey, rum, or even brandy. The addition of alcohol not only enhances the flavor but also adds a warming element to the beverage. The spices often found in apple cider, such as cinnamon and cloves, complement the character of spirits like bourbon, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

Bourbon, with its sweet and slightly smoky notes, pairs exceptionally well with the natural sweetness of apple cider. The caramel and vanilla undertones in bourbon can complement the fruity and spiced flavors in the cider, resulting in a well-balanced and comforting drink. The higher proof of bourbon ensures that its robust flavors shine through in the mix.

Combining bourbon with spiked apple cider is a popular and enjoyable option. To make a simple Bourbon Spiked Apple Cider, you can heat the cider on the stovetop with your preferred spices, then add a measure of bourbon before serving. Garnishing with a cinnamon stick or a slice of apple enhances the presentation and aroma.

Best Rum For Apple Cider

The best rum for apple cider depends on personal taste preferences. Dark or spiced rum is commonly used, as their rich and aromatic profiles complement the sweetness of the cider. Spiced rum, with its notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, can add an extra layer of warmth and complexity to the drink. Alternatively, aged rum can provide a smoother and more nuanced flavor. Experimenting with different rum varieties allows you to tailor the spiked apple cider to your liking.

Best Bourbon For Wassail

Wassail is a warm and spiced holiday punch traditionally made with mulled cider, spices, and spirits like bourbon. When selecting the best bourbon for wassail, consider one with a robust flavor profile. A high-rye bourbon can add a peppery and spicy kick, enhancing the overall complexity of the drink. Additionally, bourbons with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak can complement the sweetness of the wassail. Ultimately, personal preference plays a significant role, and experimenting with different bourbons can help find the ideal match for your wassail recipe.

In summary, the choice of alcohol for apple cider, spiked apple cider, or wassail depends on individual taste preferences. Dark rum, bourbon, and brandy are often popular choices, each contributing unique flavors to the beverage. Experimenting with different spirits allows you to tailor the drink to your liking, creating a delightful and warming experience for various occasions.


Does bourbon go with hot apple cider?

Yes, bourbon goes with hot apple cider. It may be an odd combination at first, but they complement each other quite well. The sweetness of the cider helps to offset the bold flavors of the bourbon, while the warmth of the drink helps to bring out the subtle notes of the whiskey.

Can bourbon-spiked apple cider be served cold?

Yes, you can serve Bourbon Spiked Apple Cider cold. Mix apple cider, bourbon, and a few other ingredients. Serve over ice, and enjoy!

Are younger bourbons better for apple cider?

Yes, younger bourbons are better for apple cider because they have more esters responsible for the fruity flavors. Older bourbons can be earthy and smoky, while younger ones are fruity, which complements well with apple cider. 

Various alcohols complement apple cider, including whiskey, rum, brandy, and even flavored liqueurs. The choice depends on personal preference and the desired flavor profile.

Does Jack Daniels go good with apple cider?

Yes, Jack Daniel’s, being a Tennessee whiskey, pairs well with apple cider. The whiskey’s smooth and slightly sweet character can enhance the natural sweetness of the cider.

What is the best rum for apple cider?

The best rum for apple cider depends on personal taste. Spiced or aged rums can add depth and complexity to the drink. Popular choices include Captain Morgan, Sailor Jerry, or Mount Gay.

What pairs nicely with apple cider?

Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves complement apple cider well. Additionally, spirits like whiskey, rum, brandy, or even liqueurs such as Grand Marnier can enhance the flavor.

What whiskey goes best with apple cider?

Bourbons with rich, caramel notes like Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, or Buffalo Trace pair well with apple cider. Rye whiskies with a spicier profile can also be a great match.

What alcohol is in hard apple cider?

Hard apple cider is fermented apple juice, and the alcohol comes from the fermentation process. Yeast converts the sugars in the apple juice into alcohol and carbonation.

What is the difference between whiskey and bourbon?

While all bourbons are whiskey, not all whiskies are bourbon. Bourbon is a type of whiskey with specific criteria: it must be made in the U.S., contain at least 51% corn in the mash bill, and be aged in new charred oak barrels.

Does Jim Beam go with apple cider?

Yes, Jim Beam, being a bourbon, can complement the flavors of apple cider. Its sweet and slightly spicy profile can enhance the overall taste of the drink.

Does Jameson go with apple cider?

Yes, Jameson Irish whiskey pairs well with apple cider. Its smooth and slightly sweet character can harmonize with the fruity notes in the cider.

Is Captain Morgan good in apple cider?

Yes, Captain Morgan, a spiced rum, can add warmth and complexity to apple cider. The spices in the rum complement the flavors of the cider.

Which cider has the highest alcohol?

The alcohol content in hard ciders can vary, but it generally falls within the range of 4-6% ABV (alcohol by volume). Some craft or specialty ciders may have higher alcohol content, reaching up to 12% ABV or more. It’s essential to check the label for specific information on alcohol content.

So, What’s The Best Bourbon For Apple Cider?

Bourbon and apple cider is a flavor combination that is perfect for gatherings. The taste of apple and bourbon is also evident, but it does not overwhelm the other flavors. The overall flavor is reminiscent of a freshly-baked pie. If you’re looking for a unique and delicious cocktail, you should try bourbon and apple cider!

What’s your favorite bourbon to use in apple cider? Let us know in the comments below!


  1. Rules That Make It Bourbon
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