Here’s a simple and sophisticated take on fall: an apple cider, champagne, and rye cocktail with a hint of lemon. Good news — it’s only two minutes away.
Why we love this recipe
I created this recipe several years ago for our fifteenth wedding anniversary. Here’s what I said back then:
“We’re 15. Our marriage is, like, studying trigonometry and getting a girlfriend and starting to think about driver’s licenses and college applications. It’s not a kid anymore. Too bad it’s not of legal drinking age, because I made it a fall cocktail.”
This rye cocktail:
- Is simple and sophisticated
- Channels the crispness of fall
- Hints at the warmth and coziness of rye whiskey without hitting anyone over the head with it.
I wanted cider. And I always want champagne. ALL of that is still true.
And so. The Fifteen. Here’s to us, and to you.
P.S. This cocktail is a nice, reasonably strong nod to fall with a balanced flavor profile. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, you might like our Moscow Mule.
What you’ll need
Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this rye cocktail.
- Rye whiskey has a dry, peppery, almost savory vibe. In a cocktail like this, it’s the perfect balance to cider’s gentle sweetness.
- Choose your favorite sparkling wine for this cocktail. We have a “house bubbly,” and I’m only slightly mortified to hear what that sounds like. We’ve loved Chandon brut — a dry, delightful, midpriced California sparkling wine — for several decades. Use your favorite Prosecco, Cava, or other sparkling wine here.
- Apple cider is a gently sweet, complex ingredient in its own right. We tend to grab whatever local, unfiltered cider we see in the shops in the fall. Use the rest to drink straight-up, make soup, and bake donuts.
- A generous dose of freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a welcome bright, tart dimension to this recipe
How to make it
Here’s all you need to do to make this recipe. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get the full details in the recipe card below.
- Grab your favorite champagne flute or coupe glass. Pour in rye.
- Add apple cider.
- Top it up with sparkling wine.
- Squeeze in plenty of lemon juice and serve.
Expert tips and FAQs
In the United States, rye is whiskey made from a mash of at least 51% rye. As with other spirits, different bottles have different characteristics. But in general, rye has a slightly spicy, dry, almost savory vibe. It can give whiskey cocktails a slightly edgier profile.
Any dry bottle that you enjoy drinking should work nicely in this rye cocktail. My go-to is Chandon Brut. A nice Prosecco or Cava would be a good choice, too.
Sure can. To scale it up, stir together in a pitcher: 3/4 cup rye, 1 1/4 cups apple cider, and the juice of a whole lemon. Just before serving, pour in one whole bottle of sparkling wine. Pour into glasses and serve. Makes about six drinks.
More great rye cocktails
Here are a few of our favorite ways to use rye whiskey:
- 1 ounce rye whiskey
- 1 1/2 ounces unfiltered apple cider
- 3-4 ounces champagne
- Big squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Pour the rye and apple cider into a champagne glass.
- Top up the glass with champagne and add a big squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately.
- This is a nice, flexible recipe. You can adjust the proportions to your taste, and use the brands that you love. Recently we've been nursing a bottle of Bulleit 95 that we brought home from an event last year, and the photo at the top of the post shows we originally made this drink with Michter's. But I've made this drink with many a different rye whiskey over the years.
- For years, our "house bubbly" (and yes, I hear it, and I don't care) has been Chandon Brut. It's a lovely, dry, reasonably priced California sparkling wine. Use your favorite Prosecco, Cava, or other sparkling wine here.
- To scale this recipe up for a party using a full bottle of sparkling wine, stir together in a pitcher: 3/4 cup rye, 1 1/4 cups apple cider, and the juice of a whole lemon. Just before serving, pour in sparkling wine. Pour into glasses and serve. Makes about six drinks.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 155