This Apple Cider Bourbon Smash cocktail combines bourbon, apple cider simple syrup, cinnamon and thyme for a refreshing seasonal cocktail.
Man oh man, do I love me a good bourbon cocktail. Manhattans or Old Fashioneds are my hubby Jared’s favorite kind of drink, but I prefer something a liiiitle less strong – so this bourbon smash recipe is just perfect for me.
Before we go further…
What is a bourbon smash?
I’m glad you asked! This is something I didn’t know a while ago. A smash is really just a liquor based drink that served with ice and has some sort of sugar or syrup. It almost always has herbs and usually seasonal fruit. Sometimes, they even have water added to cut the strength of the liquor.
For example, a mint julep IS a smash. It’s bourbon (sometimes with a splash of water), simple syrup or sugar, mint and it gets shaken and poured over a glass full of crushed or shaved ice. Here’s my recipe for that, it’s foolproof.
So, this cocktail is a smash because it has liquor (bourbon), simple syrup (our homemade apple cider syrup that’s TO DIE for), fresh herbs (thyme), and seasonal fruit (apples). It’s served over crushed ice! See?
Is all of this making sense? If you want to know more, check out this article.
What’s in the apple cider syrup?
Okay so back to that apple cider syrup. I bet you want to know what’s in that, right? Here we go:
- Apple cider – okay so instead of using water and sugar, we’re going to use apple cider. It’s already sweet from the apples and the flavor adds such depth and richness to the cocktail.
- Maple syrup – instead of using sugar to sweeten the syrup more, we’re just going to use a bit of maple syrup. The maple plays so well with the bourbon.
- Apple cider vinegar – this is a really important part of the syrup. The strength and acidity of the cider vinegar really round out the sweetness and help to strengthen the apple flavor of the cocktail. This is the ingredient I added during my final test of this recipe and it made all of the difference.
- Mulling spices – I always add mulling spices to my apple cider, it makes the flavor so much cozier. This cocktail is no different.
- Thyme – fresh thyme plays wonderfully with the apples and bourbon. I love the little bit of bitter lemon flavor it gives. Of course, with a smash, we have to have a fresh herb.
Why is the cocktail so easy for parties?
This cocktail is PERFECT for parties because you can make the syrup well in advance and let it sit in the fridge. Just shake or stir it up with some bourbon when you’re ready to serve it. Voila!
Go check out my Irish mules! They’re delicious, too!Print
Bourbon Apple Cider Smash
This Bourbon and Apple Cider Smash cocktail combines bourbon, apple cider simple syrup, cinnamon and thyme for a refreshing seasonal cocktail.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes + 2 hours cooling time
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes + 2 hours cooling time
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
- Category: Cocktail
- Method: Shaken
- Cuisine: American
For the cider syrup:
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. mulling spices
- about 5–10 fresh thyme sprigs
For the cocktail:
- 1-2 oz. apple cider syrup (depending on how sweet you want thr drink)
- 2 oz. bourbon
- fresh thyme for garnish
For the syrup (makes about 8 cocktails)
- Add the cider, maple syrup, cider viengar and mulling spices to a small saucepan over medium high heat.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5-8 minutes.
- Remove the syrup from the heat and add in the thyme. Stir and transfer it to a glass jar and place in the fridge to cool for about 2 hours*. Do not strain out the thyme or mulling spices yet.
- When you’re ready to make a cocktail, add some ice to a cocktail shaker and fill a 5-6 oz glass to the top (I used a julep cup) with crushed or shaved ice.
- Add the bourbon, apple cider syrup and some extra thyme leaves to the cocktail shaker and shake for about 20 seconds.
- Pour the cocktail into the glass, top with thyme for garnish & serve!
- If you’re prepping the syrup ahead of time, after about 8 hours of cooling time, go ahead and strain out the mulling spices and thyme if you’re not using it right away.
- Serving Size: 1 drink
- Calories: 208
- Sugar: 15 g
- Sodium: 18 mg
- Fat: 0 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 16 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 1 mg
Keywords: bourbon, drink, cocktail, apple cider, thyme, smash