What Is Jim Beam Apple Bourbon Whiskey?

What's the Difference Between Jim Beam Apple and Crown Royal Apple?

Jim Beam 'Apple Eve'
Getty Images/Bryan Bedder

Jim Beam Apple is an apple-flavored whiskey liqueur produced by the famous bourbon distillery. It was released in 2015 and joined the brand's successful line of flavored bourbons like Honey, Kentucky Fire, Maple, and Red Stag (Vanilla was added later). While it will not have the universal appeal of their signature bourbon, this sweet flavored whiskey has developed a very loyal following. As apple-flavored whiskey goes, it's pretty good and a useful ingredient for fun cocktails.

Jim Beam Apple vs. Crown Royal Regal Apple

There are several apple whiskies on the market, and one of the best-known is Crown Royal Regal Apple. This Canadian whisky is the same strength as Jim Beam Apple, though there is a noticeable difference in taste.

While Jim Beam Apple is bourbon blended with apple liqueur, Crown Royal Apple is Canadian whisky blended with an alcohol-based infusion of Regal Gala apples. It is far less sweet than Jim Beam Apple, has a purer whiskey background flavor, and is more of a true apple whiskey than an apple whiskey liqueur. The drawback is that the Crown Royal bottle is more expensive than Jim Beam Apple.

Fast Facts

  • Ingredients: bourbon, apple liqueur
  • Proof: 70
  • ABV: 35% 
  • Origin: Kentucky
  • Taste: sweet, apple, bourbon
  • Serve: on the rocks, cocktails, shots

What Is Jim Beam Apple?

Jim Beam Apple is made by blending a green apple liqueur with Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Due to the added flavoring ingredient, the law that defines this whiskey style prohibits it from being classified as a bourbon. Instead, it is an apple-flavored whiskey liqueur, as is clearly stated on the label. The company does not indicate that it is aged after blending or any other steps in its production.

Jim Beam Apple is bottled at 35 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 70 proof), making it one of the stronger apple liqueurs on the market.

What Does It Taste Like?

Jim Beam Apple has the very sweet taste of green apples. The sweetness level is definitely reminiscent of a liqueur, and this is notably one of the sweeter flavored whiskeys that Jim Beam has produced.

The fragrance is the most notable trademark of Jim Beam Apple. While Red Stag and Kentucky Fire both emit a strong aroma, the scent that escapes the Apple bottle when it is first cracked is unforgettable and permeating. It's as if a Jolly Rancher factory dedicated to producing only the green apple candies exploded in the room.

In all fairness, once you get beyond the smell, you can get a fair taste of the whiskey. It is quite enjoyable, especially when compared to other sweetened apple spirits. Drinkers who enjoy the likes of Apple Pucker are really going to enjoy Jim Beam Apple.

The bourbon base is a much-needed improvement on the majority of apple liqueurs. It gives depth to the flavor and a dark oak undertone that offsets the sweet, green apples. This makes it more drinkable, less sour, and better balanced.

How to Drink Jim Beam Apple

This is a flavored whiskey that needs to be mixed into drinks. Sure, you could shoot it and have a lot of fun. Many fans find it enjoyable when served on the rocks as well. But, if you want a good, lasting drink, it's best to add other ingredients.

It is inexpensive, so don't hesitate to use Jim Beam Apple in any mixed drink that calls for apple schnapps or liqueur. In fact, this may be a significant improvement over many of the other options available.

It will not give you the green color of its apple competitors, but it does work well in an appletini. It could also be paired with a Canadian whisky as a substitute for the schnapps in the popular Washington apple in either cocktail or shooter form. You may even consider it as a replacement for the vodka in the Jolly Rancher.

One of the recommended drinks, the Jim Beam Apple and Soda (a shot of the whiskey topped with club soda on the rocks) is good. Try adding tonic because the dry soda offsets the sweet liqueur quite nicely.

Another option is to use Jim Beam Apple as the apple whiskey in the handful of classic cocktails that feature the ingredient. Since these recipes were not intended for a sweet whiskey liqueur, cut back on any sweetener to ensure the drink has a nice balance. It's not perfect and certainly wouldn't be authentic, but there is potential. It may even work in a select few apple brandy recipes.

Cocktail Recipes

Get creative when it comes to mixing with Jim Beam Apple. Look for mixed drinks and shots that use either an apple whiskey or liqueur or bourbon drinks that might work well with a sweet apple spin.