By Carey Jones and John D. McCarthy
Updated November 29, 2016
Credit: Carey Jones

Hot cider is an eternal fall staple, delicious whether you spice it up with cinnamon and clove, or spike it up with bourbon or rye. We probably don’t need to tell you how to booze up a mug of cider. (If we do — an ounce of whiskey, brandy, or rum for every four ounces of cider. An ounce and a half if you’re feeling frisky.)

Want something a little more interesting? Here are three awesome cocktails to make with seasonal apple cider, from a cider sparkler to a toddy to a cider sour.

Easy: Cider Sparkler

Way better (and more seasonal) than a mimosa, this three-ingredient cocktail isn’t much more complicated. A big dose of Angostura bitters adds a complex layer of warm spice; don’t skip it.

Instructions: In a flute or wine glass, combine 2 ounces of apple cider and 5 dashes of Angostura bitters. Top with 3 ounces of sparkling wine. Garnish with a thin apple slice.

Intermediate: Cider Toddy

As we noted above, adding an ounce of booze to every four ounces of cider gets you a nice spiked version. But if you want to go boozier still? This cocktail drinks more like a hot toddy. Maple syrup as the sweetener adds additional fall flavors, while Gosling’s Black Seal Rum blends in seamlessly.

Instructions: Heat 3 ounces hot cider on a stovetop or in a microwave until it’s close to boiling. Pour into a heatproof glass and stir in 1/4 ounce maple syrup, 1 dash of Angostura bitters, and 2 ounces of Gosling’s Black Seal rum. Garnish with allspice berries, a cinnamon stick, and a few apple slices.

Advanced: Cider Sour

There’s one ingredient to a whiskey sour that people often aren’t familiar with — egg white. It adds a silky texture and lovely foam head that’s fun to dress up and garnish. And it doesn’t taste eggy at all. We’re using this template for an original gin-cider sour, where the cider’s natural sweetness is tempered by gin’s herbal bite.

Instructions: In a cocktail shaker without ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of cider, 1/2 an ounce of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 an ounce of simple syrup, 1 dash of Angostura bitters, and one egg white. Shake all that up without ice to aerate it — that’s called a “dry shake” — and then add ice and shake again for a “wet shake,” to chill it down. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with an apple slice.