Fall Five: Apple Margarita & The Manhattan’s Apple

Posted on Oct 12, 2015

Fall Five: Apple Margarita & The Manhattan’s Apple

Other fun fall drinks | Rosemary Bourbon Sour | Fall Ginger Smash | Spiced Rum Old Fashion | Pumpkin Pie Shooters

Boots, puffy, vests, and leaves in every hue. That–plus the site of flannel (everywhere)–means that fall is here, and maybe ponchos are for awhile as well?

I grew up in Southern California and my only real notions of fall was that was when school started and that it eventually led to Halloween. My dad tries to claim that beautiful foliage exists in the LA suburbs (I will give him that the ONE tree on our block does change colors). I quickly learned just how amazing fall is when I moved to Boston. Fall in New England is like a regional sport with every industry coordinating its efforts to make sure that it wins at Doing-Fall-Best. We knew when moving to DC that fall here wouldn’t be the same (we also our banking on winter not being the same 😉 ), but thus far it’s still putting on a fairly good show.

Regardless of which city puts on the best fall show, you’re missing out on life if you don’t embrace fall’s flavors. To help you welcome in this beloved season and plan some awesome autumnal parties, we’ve put together Five for Fall. Every day this week we’ll be giving you our favorite fall drinks of the year. Five days. Fall beverages.  They’ll embrace all those great flavors of apple and cider and cinnamon and spice–and who can forget pumpkin? Some are perfect for a quiet evening in, others for your next party.  We’ll walk you through what to buy and how to make it and how to serve it.

So let’s begin with the fall lovin’!

Today we embrace the apple. We love both of these apple drinks so much that we couldn’t choose. Lucky for you that means not one, but two apple cocktails to kick off Columbus Day (<–BTW Congress, please change the name of this holiday).

The Apple Cider Margarita

Margaritas are delicious on their own, agree? So you can imagine that it only gets better when doctored to embody fall’s first fruit.This drink is perfect for a party, but if you prefer to sip solo do what you must.

 By the Pitcher


  • 1.5 cups tequila (any will work, reposado if you have it)
  • 1.5 cups orange liqueur (Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Curucao, Aperol–any will work. Their listed in our order of preference if you have multiple options to choose from).
  • 7.5 cups apple cider
  • 1 apple cut in thin slices
  • 1 orange cut in thin slices
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (optional)


  • Put apple and orange slices in the bottom of a pitcher
  • Fill 2/3 full with ice
  • Add orange liqueur, tequila, cider, and cinnamon sticks.
  • Stir for 1-2 minutes.
  • (Optional) Mix ground cinnamon and sugar together on small to medium sized plate

To Serve

  • Slightly wet the rim of a glass
  • Spin the rims in the plate of cinnamon and sugar
  • Add ice to the glass
  • Pour in the drink.

Party Serving Notes

  • You can make this drink several hours ahead of time: Don’t add ice to the pitcher, but refrigerate after mixing. Right before serving, remove pitcher from fridge, add ice, and set out with glasses, bowl of ice, and cinnamon-sugar rimming plate.
  • If you’re aiming for presentation, get an extra apple and orange. Thinly slice. Place each in a small bowl next to pitcher. This serves as decor and an optional garnish if guests so choose.
  • You can pre-sugar the rims of glasses ahead of time (if you do place all on a tray. Cuteness points will be awarded to you), or leave the cinnamon-sugar plate for guests to do themselves (you should monitor this though as guests won’t know what to do on their own).

By the Glass


  • 1 oz. tequila
  • 1 oz. orange liqueur (Grand Mardnie, Cointroeu, Curucao, Aperol–any will work. Their listed in our order of preference if you have multiple options to choose from).
  • 5 oz. apple cider
  • 1 slice of apple
  • 1 slice of orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 TBS ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 TBS sugar (optional)


  • Mix cinnamon and sugar together on small plate. Wet the rim of a glass and then rub in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Add ice to glass.
  • Add tequila, orange liqueur, apple cider and cinnamon sticks to shaker.
  • Add ice to shaker and shake for 20 seconds.
  • Pour into ice filled, sugar rimmed glass.
  • Garnish with apple, orange, and cinnamon stick.

Drink credit: We found this drink a long time ago in searching the wild west of the internets for a fall party drink. ‘Twas long ago; we can’t find the link and have since adapted it for party consuming, but to the website that created this jewel, we thank you.

The Manhattan’s Apple 

Manhattans are one of the classics when it comes to cocktails. I would order them time and again if I could be guaranteed that they would be served with fine Luxardo cherries (please note: I am not talking about the sweet, bright red cherries, those are something entirely different and well not that great).  Bourbon and apple pair so well together that we were on a mission to marry the two this fall.

One thing that I aspired to do this summer and failed to do this summer was to play with ice. Not only have I seen a lot of cocktails made into popsicles (yum), but the way ice interacts with a drink is a key area of importance and renders thousands of different possibilities for a how a drink will taste over the course of imbibing. Since popsicle season has passed, and a lot of liquors don’t actually freeze, I quenched my ice-making thirst with these apple cider cubes, which then beautifully created this rendition of the Manhattan.

The thing we like most about this drink is how it changes over the course of drinking it. Most drinks on the rocks just get watered down over time; this one gets more apple flavored instead. It’s like it starts out as a Manhattan, and ends as a reverse Manhattan.

Note: This drink requires a day of lead time in order to make the ice cubes.

By the Glass


  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 6-7 apple cider cubes** (1 pint apple cider)
  • Luxardo cherry


  • Add Bourbon and sweet vermouth to shaker
  • Add 3-4 apple cider ice cubes to shaker
  • Shake vigorously for 20 seconds (apple cider cubes should reduce fairly significantly during the shaking)
  • Strain drink into apple cider ice cube filled glass
  • Add cherry and serve

**Apple cider ice cubes: Buy your favorite apple cider. Fill empty ice cube tray with cider. Place in freezer for at least 8 hours. The cider cubes can be a bit cumbersome to work with and to remove from the ice cube tray; so make a few extra than you think you’ll need.

By the Pitcher


  • 3 cups Bourbon
  • 3 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 70-80 apple cider cubes
  • Luxardo cherries


  • Approximately 15-20 minute before serving mix together Bourbon, sweet vermouth, and approximately half of your cider ice cubes.  Note: make sure your pitcher is no more than 2/3 full.
  • Stir as vigorously as possible without splashing for 30 sec – 1 minute.
  • Leave out at room temperature.
  • Right before serving (at this point the cider cubes should have begun melting), stir drink for another 30 sec – 1 minute.
  • Add  cherries to pitcher (or if you prefer add them individually to glasses when serving).
  • Add remaining cider cubes to the pitcher (<– this will be diffiult if you filled it more than 2/3 full earlier)
  • Serve in low ball glasses.



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