Toast to fall and cooler weather with this maple pumpkin bourbon cocktail! It has hints of cinnamon and apple and is made with real pumpkin to give it a cozy fall flavor.
I'm labeling this cocktail my Fall Spiced Orchard Cocktail. It has all the flavors of fall in it without being super overbearing. In every sip you'll taste sweet cinnamon and maple, crisp apple, hints of pumpkin, and of course bourbon that's sure to warm you right up!
We don't mess around with fall cocktails here at The Fit Peach. Make sure to put my Smoked Cinnamon Apple Cider Bourbon Smash Cocktail and my Blood Orange Cranberry Fall Spiced Sangria on your fall drink list!
Ingredients and notes
- Bourbon - This is the quintessential fall liquor. It has a deep caramel flavor and pairs well with warm flavors. Feel free to use whiskey or rye in its place.
- Apple cider - Be sure your apple cider is 100% juice. This time of year, most grocery stores carry a ½ gallon of pure apple cider. I should also mention, this is juice not vinegar.
- Pumpkin - Use pure pumpkin puree. There should only be 1 ingredient - pumpkin.
- Pumpkin spice - If you don't have pumpkin spice, use a little cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. You can also just use cinnamon.
- Orange bitters - This will elevate your cocktail and make it feel like you're sipping on a $16 hand shaken drink downtown. If you don't have bitters though, feel free to omit.
- Cane sugar - This is for the optional sugar rim. You can omit this or swap with coconut sugar.
Step by step directions
To make this cocktail, you will need a cocktail shaker, shallow plate for the sugar rim, and a low ball cocktail glass.
Step 1 : Rim the glass
This is important to do first so the rim has time to set and dry before adding ice and liquid to it.
First, pour the cane sugar and a little pumpkin spice in a shallow plate or bowl and mix with a spoon.
Then, dip a paper towel or cloth in a bit of extra maple syrup. Holding the cocktail glass upside down, run the paper towel around the rim of the glass. Be sure to hold it upside down when doing this to prevent the maple syrup from dripping all the way down the glass.
Gently press the rim of the glass into the sugar mixture to coat. This is best done by doing a circle motion with the glass and not letting it scrape the bottom of the plate.
Set the glass to the side to set while you prepare the cocktail.
Step 2 : Mix the pumpkin, apple cider, and pumpkin spice
Because the pumpkin puree is not in "liquid form", we need to be sure to mix it well with the apple cider. This doesn't take long at all. You can do this in a separate bowl or measuring cup or in the bottom of your cocktail shaker.
Simply add the pumpkin puree, apple cider, and pumpkin spice and mix well with a spoon to dissolve the pumpkin into the liquid. It's okay if there are little clumps of pumpkin spice, it won't thoroughly dissolve into the liquid.
If you don't like your cocktails too sweet, "cut" the apple cider by using 2 Tbsp apple cider and 1 Tbsp water.
Step 3 : Shake over ice with maple, bourbon, and bitters
Fill your cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the pumpkin mixture. Then add the maple syrup, bourbon, and bitters. Shake vigorously for about 10 - 15 seconds
Grab your cocktail glass and place a large ice cube inside. Pour the cocktail through a drink strainer into your glass.
If you don't have a cocktail shaker, you can use a ball jar like I used in my chocolate espresso martini recipe.
Step 4 : Garnish
If desired, garnish your maple bourbon cocktail with a cinnamon stick and a thinly sliced apple slice and enjoy!
Storing extra pumpkin
Believe it or not, this recipe was developed due to high number of half empty cans of pumpkin I have in my fridge from September - December. Most pumpkin recipes, like my oatmeal chocolate chip pumpkin bars, vegan pumpkin scones, and gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls all require less than a can of pumpkin puree. So naturally you're left with a little bit of pumpkin in the can.
Don't throw the can away! Make a cocktail instead with it. Wrap the can tight with some aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place a rubber band (or old hair tie) around it to keep it sealed. Store the can in the fridge were it will keep for over a month.
When the cocktail mood strikes you, you'll have the pumpkin puree you need to make a nice fall cocktail!
- Rim your cocktail glass first. This will allow the rim to dry and set before adding in liquid
- Use high quality pumpkin puree like Whole Foods 365 brand, Farmer's Market, or Libbys Pumpkin (make sure not to use the pumpkin pie filling though).
- Mix the pumpkin well with the apple cider. You don't want clumps of pumpkin in your drink. Mix the pumpkin puree well with the liquid to dissolve it. You should be left with a pumpkin syrup texture.
- If you have the room in your freezer, invest in some big ice cube molds. Because the surface area of the ice is larger than regular ice cubes, they don't melt as quickly which dilutes the cocktail.
Frequently asked questions
A warm liquor like bourbon, whiskey, or rye pair really well with a crisp apple cider.
If you're not usually a fan of bourbon, I still think you should try this cocktail. Mixed with sweet apple cider and some other fall spices, it takes like a brisk fall evening.
Yes, you can go ahead and prepare the pumpkin and apple cider mixture ahead of time so it's ready to go when you want to make the cocktail. Follow the steps as directed and mix the pumpkin puree, apple cider, and pumpkin spice well. Store in an air tight jar in the fridge for up to 3 days before using.
Yes! This recipe was developed for 1 single cocktail so it's easy to make for a crowd. You will be able to fit 2 - 3 of these cocktails in a shaker at once. Simply multiple the ingredients below by the number of cocktails you want to make.
If you are making this for a larger crowd, I recommend blending the pumpkin, apple cider, and pumpkin spice mixer in a blender (again, multiply the ingredients below by how many people you are serving). When ready to shake over ice, use 2 oz of the pumpkin mixture per cocktail and add the bourbon, maple, and bitters separately.
Check out these other recipes for an epic happy hour:
PS : If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a star review and comment below! Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram and Pinterest to stay up to date on all tasty recipes here at The Fit Peach!
Cozy Maple Pumpkin Bourbon Cocktail with Apple Cider
- 2 Tbsp cane sugar - optional, for the rim
- 1 pinch pumpkin spice - plus more for rim, optional
- 2 tsp pumpkin puree
- 3 Tbsp apple cider - use 2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp water if you don't like your cocktail too sweet
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 ½ oz bourbon - sub. whiskey or rye
- orange bitters
- For the rim, place the cane sugar and 1 tsp pumpkin spice in a shallow dish. Mix around with a spoon so they are well incorporated. Use a paper towel or a cloth and dip it in some extra maple syrup. Hold your cocktail glass upside down and run the paper towel around the edge of the glass to coat it. Then, still holding the glass upside down, gently dip the rim into the sugar mixture to coat. Do a few circle motions with the glass without letting it scrape the bottom of the dish to fully coat. Set the glass aside to allow the rim to set and dry while you prepare the cocktail.
- In the bottom of your cocktail shaker or a separate glass, mix the pumpkin puree, apple cider and pumpkin spice well with a spoon or whisk. Mix until the pumpkin is dissolved into the liquid. There will be some bits of pumpkin spice remaining and that's okay.
- Fill the cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the pumpkin mixture if it's in a separate glass. Add the maple syrup, bourbon, and two dashes of bitters. Place the other half of the cocktail shaker on top and shake vigorously for 10 - 15 seconds.
- Add a large ice cube to your cocktail glass and pour the cocktail through a drink strainer and over the ice. If you don't have a drink strainer, use the side of the cocktail shaker to hold the ice while you pour. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a thinly sliced apple slice if desired and enjoy!
If you are making this for a larger crowd, I recommend blending the pumpkin, apple cider, and pumpkin spice mixer in a blender (again, multiply the ingredients below by how many people you are serving). When ready to shake over ice, use 2 oz of the pumpkin mixture per cocktail and add the bourbon, maple, and bitters separately. Storing extra pumpkin - Wrap the can tight with some aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place a rubber band (or old hair tie) around it to keep it sealed. Store the can in the fridge were it will keep for over a month.