The calendar may say this weekend is still summer, but my front lawn knows fall is only three days away. It’s covered in leaves. The chill that’s blowing through my windows from the front of my house right now has me thinking I may need to grab a sweater. There’s a lovely breeze coming in, but it has a nip in it that wasn’t there earlier this week.

It's time to start thinking fall flavors when it comes to drinks. I’ve created a cocktail to kick off fall that uses apple cider and cinnamon simple syrup for that taste of fall. It’s served in a martini glass rimmed with caramel. 

When I started thinking about this cocktail, I thought I would use rum. After a couple of tries, I realized the white rum I was adding wasn’t cutting it, and I didn’t have any spiced rum. I switched to bourbon, and that did the trick.


  • 1 oz bourbon
  • 1/2 oz orange-flavored liqueur
  • 2 oz apple cider
  • 1/2 oz cinnamon simple syrup
  • 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • ginger ale
  • Caramel sauce for rimming the glasses
  • Cinnamon sticks or caramel-coated apple wedges for garnish
  1. Coat the rim of a martini glass with caramel sauce (You’ll want a glass that holds at least 5 oz of liquid in it)
  2. Add bourbon, orange-flavored liqueur, apple cider, cinnamon simple syrup, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Shake until the outside of the shaker gets frosty and cold.
  3. Strain contents of shaker into a martini glass.
  4. Top with ginger ale.
  5. Add garnish of either cinnamon stick or caramel coated apple wedge.
My notes
  • I like the look of the cinnamon stick in the drink, but if you’re making several of these, that could get expensive. The caramel coated apple slice is a less expensive option and will probably get eaten, too.
  • I gave the drink the name Candy Apple because it has apple and caramel in it, but there are many other cocktails with the same name that use different ingredients.
  • I realize this cocktail is a little light on the alcohol, but I wanted the apple flavor to shine through. To achieve that,  I had to scale back on the bourbon. That’s okay. It just means you can probably have a second one!
  • If you're just not ready to give in to fall yet, may I suggest the Watermelon Ginger Fizz Cocktail from earlier in the summer. My son is still drinking the non-alcoholic version of it every chance he gets. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.