Which Alcohol Goes Best With Apple Cider? 10 Ways To Spike This Wintertime Favorite

If you ask me, apple cider reigns king as the beverage for the fall and winter seasons. Hot or cold, it’s more satisfying than apple juice, and delicious when made into apple cider doughnuts. What’s also delicious is spiked apple cider, obviously — but which alcohol goes best with apple cider?

When cold weather arrives, hot chocolate, eggnog, and spiced tea get all the love. Sometimes though, you need an alcoholic beverage — if only to get you through the holidays. Most holiday beverages can easily be spiked with spirits and liquors. People forget, though, that one of the best winter drinks is apple cider, which is made even better with the likes of bourbon, rum, and tequila, to name a few.

Here’s what apple cider isn’t: apple juice, or hard cider. There isn’t a defined legal standard on the difference between apple cider and apple juice, which is why many brands use the names interchangeably for marketing purposes. To be clear, fresh apple cider is usually raw apple juice that hasn’t gone through a filtration system to remove the pulp and other sediment from the apple. Apple cider can be unpasteurized, unlike apple juice, which is typically pasteurized to prevent fermentation and to prevent spoilage. Hard apple cider is a fermented alcoholic beverage.

Below are 10 of the best alcohols to pair with your favorite childhood winter beverage. It's time to get cozy.

1. Rye Whiskey

American rye whiskey, which is distilled from at least 51 percent rye, gives this apple cider cocktail a nice, slow and spicy burn. Try this sweet cider cocktail from Big Girls Small Kitchen.

2. Rum

This hot apple cider rum punch from Brown Eyed Baker is just what the doctor ordered on cold winter nights, flavored with ginger, cinnamon sticks, and orange slices.

3. Beer

A traditional shandy is made with beer and lemonade, ginger beer, or ginger ale. This apple cider shandy from Back To Her Roots combines apple cider, pumpkin beer, and cinnamon for an easy drink.

4. Tequila

If you think margaritas are only for summertime sipping, you've been missing out on How Sweet It Is' apple cider margaritas. It's time to replenish your tequila stock.

5. Scotch

Scotch is a malt or grain whiskey that must be aged at least three years in oak barrels to be legally labeled as Scotch whiskey. This smoky Scotch + cider cocktail from A Better Happier St Sebastian is a nice libation to enjoy when coming back in from the cold.

6. Sparkling Wine

Apple cider mimosas from The Cookie Rookie have the only two things I ever want in life: apple cider and champagne. Boom.

7. Mezcal

Mezcal, tequila's smokier cousin that is also made from the agave plant, pairs nicely with sweet and spicy apple cider. Try this apple mezcal holiday cocktail from The Bourne Explorer, and see for yourself.

8. Bourbon

Traditional hot toddies, made with water, lemon, honey, and bourbon, were once thought to help cure cold and flu symptoms. Add apple cider, and you have the perfect antidote for all your winter blues. Try this gingery-appley hot toddy recipe from A Cozy Kitchen.

9. Cognac

If you thought Cognac was only for your grandfather, think again. This spirit made from brandy is a great accent to a cold-weather inspired sangria. Try this sparkling apple cider sangria from The Kitchn for your next party.

10. Moonshine

Hooch, white lightening — Moonshine has taken a list of names throughout the years to protect its brewers. The history of moonshine is extensive, and today, brewers are reviving the once illicit spirit. Serve this apple pie moonshine cocktail from The Little Epicurean with a history lesson.

For more inspiration and ideas, check out Bustle on YouTube.

Bustle on YouTube

Images: Big Girls Small Kitchen; Brown Eyed Baker; Back To Her Roots; How Sweet It Is; A Better Happier St Sebastian; The Cookie Rookie; The Bourne Explorer; A Cozy Kitchen; The Kitchn; The Little Epicurean