Warming Apple Cider Cocktail with Maple and Sage

apple cider cocktail

This apple cider cocktail with maple and sage is about as warm-and-cozy-by-the-fire as it gets. I saw a version of this recipe months ago in America’s Test Kitchen’s How To Cocktail, and I knew I’d have to try it once the weather turned cool. Sage muddled with maple syrup? I’m already on board. Sweet apple cider evened out by a strong and warming bourbon? Count me in. Although I’m not usually a hard liquor drinker, this cocktail won me over. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and strong, and makes me feel like cozying up to a fireplace with a good book. Perfect for a nightcap after a day of apple picking or a warming after-work drink to sip as you cook my risotto with butternut squash and sage or comforting roasted butternut squash soup, I think you’ll love this apple cider cocktail!

What’s in This Apple Cider Cocktail?

You don’t need much to pull together this apple cider cocktail with maple and sage:

  • Maple Syrup. Just a small amount to bring out all the apple flavors from the cider.
  • Sage Leaves. A generous number of sage leaves to up the earthiness of this cocktail.
  • Apple Cider, of course. If you can, I would look for one that has no added sugar. We get plenty of sweetness from the apple juices themselves and the maple syrup.
  • Bourbon. If you are far fancier and classier than I am and already have bourbon on hand, use that! I had to buy some specifically for this cocktail, and went with a smoked maple bourbon. Can you tell I love fall?
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (optional). America’s Test Kitchen recommends a splash of apple cider vinegar to cut the sweetness of the cider and maple syrup, but I didn’t find this completely necessary. I found that the bourbon, which is strong for my taste already, cut the sweetness plenty.

I owe it all to America’s Test Kitchen for inspiring this recipe. I made some changes, to include more sage leaves and a maple bourbon. Cocktails are very personal, so of course feel free to tinker with this recipe to make it your own! If you make this cocktail, please leave a comment and rating below to let me know how it turned out! Your feedback keeps me going, and helps other readers as well.


Apple Cider Cocktail with Maple and Sage

This apple cider cocktail is the perfect fall treat. Sip it as you make my butternut squash risotto or pumpkin mac and cheese!

  • Author: A Tavola Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail 1x


  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 1/4 oz (1.5 tsp) maple syrup
  • 2 oz (4 tbsp) smoked maple bourbon or bourbon of choice
  • 1 to 2 oz (24 tbsp) apple cider, depending on desired sweetness 
  • 1/4 oz (1.5 tsp) apple cider vinegar, optional 


  1. Add sage leaves and maple syrup to bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle until sage leaves are fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  2. Add bourbon, apple cider, and vinegar (if using) to shaker.
  3. Fill shaker with ice and shake until chilled, 5-10 seconds.
  4. Double strain into a chilled glass half-filled with ice and enjoy immediately. 


  • Adjust this recipe based on your taste! I included a few ways you could do so — more apple cider, omitting the vinegar, etc. 
  1. This is the perfect cocktail for my smoked bourbon, the recipe is so flavorful and well balanced. Thank you for sharing this, can’t wait to try it out with my Sunday brunches.

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