Apple Sour Bourbon Cocktail

Apple Sour cocktail

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
74 Calories
0g Fat
10g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 74
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 16mg 80%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 48mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Styled after the classic whiskey sour, this apple sour recipe is an enjoyable experience for whiskey lovers and whiskey newbies alike. Lovers will enjoy the fruity twist on an old favorite, and rookies, who are likely familiar with apple martinis and similar cocktails, will find it a nice change of pace. Our recipe also features real apple flavor, not some syrupy-sweet or a far-too-sour concoction that merely imitates the fruit. Why use the fakes when you have delicious apple juice to flavor your drink?

Apple is a good fruit flavor for a sour-style cocktail. Plenty of cocktail recipes feature apple, either in its sweet form or sometimes as an overly tart experience. The majority of apple sour recipes are designed to make you pucker. Not so with our recipe, which takes an entirely different approach. The cocktail does not have a strong apple flavor, nor is it strongly sour. Instead, it is a delicate balance that is quite delicious. It's a drink that you can relax with during happy hour, makes a delightful sipper for a casual weekend at home, and is a nice complement to almost any meal, but especially to beef and pork appetizers and main courses.

“The Apple Sour Cocktail lends a little style and seasonality to a basic bourbon cocktail. Use a good quality apple juice for this drink and save the sweeter stuff for the kids.” —Joan Velush

Apple Sour Bourbon Cocktail/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make an apple sour cocktail

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a cocktail shaker, pour the bourbon, triple sec, apple juice, lemon juice, and orange bitters. Shake well.

    A cocktail shaker with bourbon, triple sec, apple juice, lemon juice, and orange bitters.

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass over fresh ice.

    Apple Sour cocktail in an old-fashioned glass

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

For Best Results

Here are a few expert recommendations to make the best apple sour bourbon:

  • Bourbon: Unless you go for a really cheap bourbon, you won't find a bad bourbon to mix into this apple sour.
  • Apple juiceAs with any other juice, it's important to choose a quality juice if you want the best-tasting cocktail. Choose something not overly processed or overly sweet. If using apple cider, use cold pressed without added sugar. Although other good-quality apple juices work well, cider adds an impressive depth of flavor to the apple sour. Likewise for the lemon juice, fresh is best.
  • Triple sec: Not all triple sec is created equal, and you want a great-tasting one in your bar. Instead of thinking about triple sec as a secondary liqueur, consider it as you would a vodka because you will use it almost as often. Don't downgrade your beverages with a not-so-great triple sec. Pay up and enjoy the improvement in your cocktails.

Fizzy Apple Sour

If you would like to add a little sparkle to the cocktail, choose a sparkling juice. It's a fun alternative to regular apple juice, and the clean, natural taste works very well against the bourbon sour. You might even want to stick with regular juice and top the drink off with sparkling juice to create a taller, more refreshing beverage.

How Strong Is the Apple Sour?

The apple sour falls in line with similar whiskey cocktails and is mild but not weak. It's a very pleasant whiskey sipper and has an average alcohol content of 19 percent ABV (36 proof).

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