Apple Pie Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Made with a spiced apple simple syrup, apple cider and your favorite bourbon, this Apple Pie Old-Fashioned has all the comfort of holiday desserts. Full of everyone’s favorite fall flavors, this one is perfect for any cocktail hour this season.

A seasonal fall old-fashioned is flanked by cinnamon sticks and red apples.

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Apple Pie Old-Fashioned recipe

When it comes to holiday pies, it’s always so hard to decide between apple, pumpkin and pecan. And chocolate and sweet potato and banoffee and and and…

But apple is always at the top of my list. I love the sweetness of the apples with the spiced flavors of cinnamon, ginger and clove.

These flavors work so beautifully with sweet, oaky bourbon to make the perfect apple pie cocktail.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Fresh apple cider, apple syrup and bourbon are a delicious and cozy combination. It tastes just like holiday apple pie!
  • It’s easy to make with a quick simple syrup, a splash of apple cider and your favorite whiskey.
  • Bourbon lovers will adore this twist on the classic whiskey cocktail this time of year.

The perfect sipping drink, this apple cocktail is perfect for enjoying on a crisp fall day or for serving at the holidays.

An apple old-fashioned cocktail is surrounded by its ingredients

What is an old-fashioned?

The old-fashioned is a classic cocktail made with any type of whiskey — usually bourbon — or another strong spirit like mezcal or aged rum.

Old-fashioned cocktails are spirit-forward, meaning they are heavy on the alcohol. They don’t have any mixers like sour mix or soda.

Instead, they include small amounts of added flavor, usually in the form of orange zest, a cocktail cherry, some kind of bitters and a sugar cube or simple syrup.

This one has a fall twist and is made with bourbon, spiced apple simple syrup, a splash of apple cider, plus ginger and clove bitters. Every sip tastes just like a bite of apple pie.

For the garnish, add a clear ice cube, a cinnamon stick and a slice of fresh apple.

golden spoon sticking out of mason jar of light orange simple syrup with apples, cloves, cinnamon sticks and rosemary surrounding.


The apple cider old-fashioned is a simple fall cocktail, so you only need a few ingredients.

Apple simple syrup

First, you’ll make a homemade apple simple syrup with fresh apples and spices. It comes together in under 30 minutes, and you can use any kind of apples to make it.

You can also use real maple syrup, brown sugar syrup or cinnamon syrup instead for just as tasty results.

Feel free to purchase apple syrup instead if you plan to make these cocktails a lot. Instant Pot apple butter would also work!

Apple cider

The addition of apple cider gives this cocktail another hint of apple flavor, in addition to the apple syrup.

If you go apple picking, you can usually pick up a gallon of real apple cider at a local apple orchard, but you can also find it at the grocery store or the farmers market during apple season. Or make your own 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.


If you have a favorite bourbon, use it here! I love Old Forester for its sweet caramel flavor it brings to a drink at a good price, but there are many more options out there that would be equally delicious.

Knob Creek, Woodford Reserve, Angel’s Envy and Bulleit are some of my other favorites. Check out my bourbon guide if you need more help picking a brand to buy.

bottles of bitters laying on a grey and white stripe kitchen towel.

Spiced bitters

Bitters give an old-fashioned a deeper, more complex flavor. And you only need a few drops.

Ginger bitters and clove bitters give this cocktail a distinct apple pie flavor, but you could use orange, cardamom, cinnamon or even Angostura bitters instead.

Hella Cocktail Co. also makes apple blossom bitters that would be delicious.

Check out my list of the best bitters brands for some new flavors to check out for your home bar.


No cocktail is complete without a garnish! Old-fashioneds usually get a garnish of an orange peel and a cocktail cherry.

For this apple cider bourbon cocktail, you can have a lot of fun with fall garnishes:

  • cinnamon stick
  • slices of apple
  • star anise
  • crystallized ginger
An eyedropper dropping bitters into an old-fashioned cocktail.

How to make an Apple Old-Fashioned

Old-fashioneds are such easy cocktails to make. Grab a mixing glass and a bar spoon, or make this apple cider old-fashioned right in your rocks glass.

Add your simple syrup and bourbon, plus a splash of apple cider. Stir together.

Then lower in a large ice cube or ice ball. (Or, if using a mixing glass, pour it over the ice in a rocks glass.)

Add a few drops of ginger and clove bitters and add a garnish of an apple slice and a cinnamon stick.

To make this cocktail non-alcoholic, use a zero-proof spirit whiskey such as Ritual whiskey alternative.

Sprigs of red berries, red apples and cinnamon sticks surround a glass with gold foil stars containing a light amber liquid garnished with an apple slice and cinnamon stick

More fall old-fashioned recipes

These old-fashioned recipes are fall favorites at my house. Try one of these comforting drink recipes:

More apple cider cocktails

A seasonal fall old-fashioned is flanked by cinnamon sticks and red apples

Apple Pie Old-Fashioned

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Make the ultimate fall cocktail, an apple-old fashioned with homemade apple syrup and your favorite bourbon.
4.75 from 4 votes
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Apple Pie Old-Fashioned

  • ¼ to ½ ounce apple simple syrup
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • ½ ounce apple cider
  • 2 dashes clove bitters
  • 2 dashes ginger bitters
  • 1 stick cinnamon for garnish
  • 1 slice apple for garnish
  • 1 large ice cube

Apple Simple Syrup

  • 1 large red apple diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 whole cloves
  • ½ cup sugar


Apple Pie Old-Fashioned

  • To a rocks glass, add apple simple syrup, bourbon and apple cider. Stir together.
  • Carefully lower in a large ice cube or sphere.
  • Top with a few dashes ginger and clove bitters.
  • Garnish with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick.

Apple Simple Syrup

  • Place diced apple, water, cinnamon stick and cloves in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat to a simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t stir too much or press on the apples or the syrup will become cloudy.
  • With a fine-mesh strainer, strain the liquid into a measuring cup. Discard the solids.
  • Pour the liquid back into the saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sugar until dissolved, but don’t boil. Remove from heat.
  • Store in an airtight, food-safe container such as a bottle or mason jar in the fridge for up to 1 month.


Simple syrup will keep refrigerated for up to 1 month in the fridge. If it begins to look cloudy, it’s time to toss it out.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 cocktail

amount per serving:

Serving: 3ounces Calories: 316kcal Carbohydrates: 30g Protein: 1g Sodium: 5mg Fiber: 5g Sugar: 23g
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