Apple Cider Margaritas

Apple Cider Margaritas are the best accompaniment to taco nights in the fall! Made with tequila, maple syrup, lime juice and fresh apple cider, these beautiful cocktails will warm you right up.

Two apple cider margarita cocktails next to two red apples, some fall leaves and rosemary sprigs on a white background.

Apple Cider Margarita recipe

Who said we have to stop drinking margaritas when summer ends?

If you find them, let them know that we don’t have to stop because Apple Cider Margaritas are here to save the day!

These fall cocktails are so good, they are worth serving at Thanksgiving and Christmas if you want to serve up a twist on the classic margarita.

Made with real apple cider, your favorite tequila and a cinnamon sugar rim on the edge of the glass, I have no doubt these margs will be the star of the show.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Apple cider and tequila are the most perfect match ever. They’re a little citrusy with lots of fall flavor.
  • These totally crushable cocktails would be great for everything from taco night to Thanksgiving dinner.
  • They’re a great way to celebrate fall flavors and anything else you have to celebrate.

These margs are not only perfect for holiday meals, but you can serve them at all kinds of parties this season, from brunches to bridal showers to bachelorette parties!

Two apple cocktails on a white background with apples, fall leaves and a gold cocktail shaker.

Apple cider vs. apple juice

Though they are both made from fresh apples, apple cider is different than apple juice.

Apple cider is fresh, unfiltered and usually unpasteurized, whereas apple juice is filtered and usually pasteurized.

Cider is usually a murkier, opaque color while the juice is transparent.

Also, apple cider is usually only sold during the fall months, and apple juice is sold year-round.

Ingredients

This fall margarita is so much more than just sour mix and some tequila, but they are worth the work! Grab your cocktail shaker and let’s get mixing!

a bowl of cinnamon and sugar that is ready to be combined to make homemade cinnamon sugar

Cinnamon sugar

Though you can buy cinnamon sugar at the store, I love making it myself. All you need is cinnamon and sugar and it makes for the most beautiful rim on a cocktail. (Try it on the rim of your pumpkin beer or Christmas ale — trust me!)

To rim a glass, rub the rim’s outer edge with a wedge of lime. Honey or maple syrup works too — we just need something for the cinnamon sugar to adhere to.

Pour the cinnamon sugar on a small plate and then roll the edges in it to coat the rim. Then set aside.

If you’d rather use your favorite margarita salt instead, go for it!

Apple cider

Pick up a gallon of real apple cider. You can also make homemade apple cider if you have the time.

Sometimes apple cider is infused with spices or caramel for flavor — feel free to use that if you wish, but it may be quite sweet. You may need to scale back on the maple syrup instead.

If you can’t find apple cider, feel free to use apple juice instead, but know the flavor and color will be slightly different.

Lime juice

Fresh lime juice is tantamount for any margarita, ideally juiced from fresh limes.

While store-bought lime juice is great in a pinch, it’s not the wisest to use in a marg where lime is one of the star players. Bottled concentrate will still taste good, but if you have time to squeeze some limes, don’t skimp.

If you’re planning to make a lot, I totally see the need for a shortcut! See if your grocery store sells pre-squeezed, fresh lime juice.

I usually use a citrus squeezer to juice my limes. If I am making a lot of cocktails, I use my electric citrus juicer.

You can also substitute limeade, lemonade or even lemon juice in a pinch! (If using one of the -ades, be sure to cut down on the sweetener.)

a bottle of mezcal with limes

Best tequila for margaritas

Margaritas traditionally call for tequila, which is a transparent spirit made from the Blue Weber Agave plant in Mexico. The tequila you choose can make a huge difference in whether or not you make the best apple cider margarita.

My favorite tequila brands right now are Casamigos, Sauza, El Jimador and Lunazul, but there are tons more out there. For top-shelf margaritas, try Don Julio, Patron or Milagro. Whatever you do, I’d stay away from super cheap tequila — it doesn’t make for a good margarita.

You can mix your favorite tequila into these margs. There are a few types of tequila that I detail in my Tequila 101 crash course.

  • I like to use blanco tequila, AKA silver tequila for most margs. Clear and colorless, it works really well in any margarita recipe. Gold tequila has added caramel color to make it seem aged, so I don’t usually recommend it, but it will taste just fine if you use it.
  • A reposado tequila is aged in oak barrels between two months and one year, and gets its natural caramel coloring from the oak. Its flavor is much more complex, but you can either mix with it or sip it straight. It’s usually a little more expensive than gold or silver tequila, but is still affordable.
  • Using an infused tequila, like this jalapeño tequila, is a great way to experiment with flavor.

If you see añejo or extra añejo on the label, that signifies it’s a premium tequila that was aged for more than a year (extra is more than three!). Like a fine cognac, these are expensive and meant to be sipped straight, so I wouldn’t recommend them for margaritas.

Mezcal is one more choice you can try. It has a smokier flavor than tequila — technically, tequila is a type of mezcal that tastes cleaner than other types of mezcal. (Try it in this mezcal margarita — it’s life-changing!)

Close-up image of a cinnamon stick, an apple slice and a sprig of rosemary in a stemless martini glass containing an apple cider margarita.

Orange liqueur

Adding colorless orange liqueur to your margarita gives it a complex flavor. The sweet orange balances the sour lime flavors and sweet apples, making it into the perfect drink.

Triple sec and curaçao are low-cost versions that are still delicious, but for a more top-shelf choice, go for either Grand Marnier or Cointreau.

Maple syrup

The traditional margarita recipe calls for agave nectar, but this one needed a fall upgrade. You could also use some kind of simple syrup instead. Honey syrup, brown sugar syrup or spiced apple syrup are all great choices here.

Whatever you do, don’t use the corn syrup-based pancake syrup in these margs! What you’re looking for is pure, 100% maple syrup.

For a deeper fall flavor, try this bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup.

Garnishes

Garnishing these delicious apple cider margaritas really makes them feel fancy, so don’t skip this step — especially if you are serving it for a holiday feast! Here are a few ideas:

Any of these would be a great option!

An apple cider margarita with an apple slice garnish and a cinnamon stick.

How to make an Apple Cider Margarita

Apple margaritas are so easy to make!

First, let’s add the cinnamon sugar rim. Pour a cinnamon sugar mixture on a plate. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of your glass. Roll the rim of the glasses in the cinnamon sugar to coat the rim. (Fill with ice, if serving on the rocks.)

Then, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the apple cider, lime juice, tequila, triple sec and maple syrup. Pour into the prepared margarita glasses.

Finally, garnish it with your favorite fall garnishes. I used apple slices, rosemary sprigs and a cinnamon stick.

(To get the apple with the star shape in the middle, cut the apple horizontally rather than from the stem to the bottom.)

Pitcher of Apple Cider Margaritas

Need to make a large amount for a party? Here’s how to multiply the ingredients for 8 servings :

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 3 cups tequila
  • 2 cups lime juice
  • 2 cups triple sec
  • ¼ cup maple syrup

Tip: Room temperature citrus will juice a lot easier than cold, refrigerated ones. Set your citrus fruits out on the counter for a couple hours to warm up before juicing them.

Variations and substitutions

Spiced apple cider margaritas: Use cinnamon syrup instead of maple syrup.

Non-alcoholic margaritas: Use a zero-proof tequila such as Ritual tequila alternative (affiliate link) and non-alcoholic orange liqueur such as Lyre’s Orange Sec.

Skinny apple cider margaritas: Substitute orange juice for triple sec and skip the maple syrup.

Sugar-free margaritas: Use your favorite sugar substitute, such as Stevia, to make a sugar-free syrup. Make sure the apple cider you use is unsweetened.

Frozen apple cider margaritas: Throw all the ingredients into a blender with ice to make frozen margaritas.

Two apple cider margaritas with cinnamon sugar on the rim next to a gold cocktail shaker, red apples, fall leaves and rosemary sprigs.

More apple cider cocktails

If you love an apple cider cocktail, look no further than one of these.

More holiday margaritas

Serve up a holiday margarita bar with this apple margarita and a few of these options below!

Two apple cider margarita cocktails next to two red apples, some fall leaves and rosemary sprigs on a white background.

Apple Cider Margaritas

Yield: 2 cocktails
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Brighten up your holiday menus with apple cider margaritas. These stunning cocktails are refreshing and full of fall flavor.

Ingredients

  • lime wedge
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar, for rim
  • 4 ounces apple cider
  • 2 ounces triple sec
  • 3 ounces tequila
  • 2 ounces lime juice
  • ½ ounce maple syrup
  • apple slices, for garnish
  • cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place cinnamon sugar on a plate. Rub a lime wedge around the edge of a margarita glass. Roll the rim of the glasses in the cinnamon sugar to coat the rim. (Fill with ice, if serving on the rocks.)
  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine apple cider, lime juice, tequila, triple sec and maple syrup. Pour into the prepared margarita glasses.
  3. Garnish with apple slices and cinnamon sticks.

Notes

For a pitcher: Need to make a large amount for a party? Here's how to multiply the ingredients for 8 servings :

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 3 cups tequila
  • 2 cups lime juice
  • 2 cups triple sec
  • ¼ cup maple syrup

Frozen margaritas: Add 2 cups ice to a cocktail shaker and combine with all drink ingredients. Blend well and pour into prepared glasses.

Skinny margaritas: Substitute orange juice for triple sec and skip the maple syrup and sugar rim. Make sure the apple cider you use is unsweetened, or use pure apple juice.

Sugar-free margaritas: Use your favorite sugar substitute, such as Stevia, to make a sugar-free syrup. Double check the apple cider doesn't contain added sugar and don't add a cinnamon sugar rim.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 6mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 3gSugar: 29gProtein: 1g

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