Shake up a perfectly chilled spiced apple cider mocktail at your next fall party! It can easily be made into a cocktail too.

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: This no-alcohol martini is festive and exciting.

How long it takes: Prep the cinnamon ginger simple syrup ahead; the cocktail can be made in less than 5 minutes.
Equipment you’ll need: cocktail shaker, ice, martini or stemmed glass
Servings: 1

Martini glass filled with apple cider and simple syrup, garnished with cinnamon sugar and an apple slice.
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Do you enjoy a good cocktail but don’t want the alcohol? Mocktails are the answer to this dilemma. With the same elements of a cocktail – complex flavors, fancy glassware and garnishes, and mixology recipes – you won’t miss the spirits.

I love this fun apple cider mocktail. It’s refreshing, festive, and easy to make, with notes of cinnamon and ginger to add complexity. And if you’re looking for a cocktail, go ahead and add vodka, rum, or bourbon.

September’s almost over and October is a perfect month to host an autumn party. Serve apple cider mocktails with homemade pumpkin bread and whipped cream cheese or gingerbread butter.

Not into pumpkin? Crisp crostini are always a hit at parties, too. Try roasted grape crostini with ricotta and honey, wild mushroom crostini with goat cheese, or butternut squash crostini with ricotta. Bowls of nuts like spiced pecans or cinnamon roasted almonds will disappear quickly. Homemade gingersnap cookies with white chocolate and cranberries are a good match, too.

For dinner, these grilled pork kabobs with apples are so good. Serve the kabobs with autumn quinoa salad dressed with a fabulous maple mustard vinaigrette, and of course, an apple cider mocktail.

Overhead view of apple cider mocktail.

About this Apple Cider cocktail

This apple cider mocktail (or fake-tini) is super easy to make. You’ll want to prep the spice-infused simple syrup ahead of time so it’s chilled and ready to go. The mocktail takes about five seconds to make, okay, maybe ten.

I’ll get you started here with a few tips and extra information.

What You’ll Need

  • Apple Cider: If you live in the U.S., apple cider is unfiltered apple juice. It’s unfermented and contains no alcohol. Cider may or may not be pasteurized and is found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Do not confuse it with apple cider vinegar!!
  • Cinnamon-Ginger Simple Syrup: You’ll be making your own simple syrup (it’s super simple to make!). This spice-infused syrup adds complexity to the mocktail. It’s made of water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and ginger root.
  • Cinnamon Sugar: Make your own by mixing 1/4 cup sugar with a tablespoon of cinnamon. Yup, it’s that easy! Use cinnamon sugar to rim the glass.
  • Apple Slice: For a garnish. A cinnamon stick makes a nice garnish, too.
  • Cocktail Shaker, Ice, Stemmed Glass
Overhead view of cider, water, cinnamon sticks, ginger, apple, and cinnamon sugar.

How To Make It

Begin by making cinnamon ginger simple syrup. Simple syrups add so much flavor and keep several days in the fridge. There are so many ways to infuse flavor into this mixer.

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan, along with a couple of cinnamon sticks and sliced fresh ginger root. 

Overhead view of black pan with water, sugar, ginger, and cinnamon.

Simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let the syrup cool with the cinnamon and ginger in it. It will infuse the syrup with so much flavor.

After the syrup has cooled, strain out the cinnamon sticks and ginger. You’ll have plenty of cinnamon ginger simple syrup for several drinks.

Ginger cinnamon simple syrup in a small jar.

Bartending Tip

Since this mocktail is chilled briefly in a cocktail shaker with ice but not served over ice, make sure your ingredients are well-chilled. Serve the drink in a stemmed glass so it isn’t warmed by body heat.

Prepare your glasses by wetting the edge with cider and dipping them into cinnamon sugar. Thinly slice an apple for a garnish.

Martini glass being rimmed with cinnamon sugar.

When you’re ready to serve the mocktails, add a couple of tablespoons (or to taste) of the simple syrup, apple cider and ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously until the drink is chilled, and pour it into your prepared glass.

An apple cider based cocktail in a martini glass against a white background.

So delicious and pretty too!

Psst: If you want, add a shot of vodka, whiskey, or spiced rum. Or try this fantastic Apple Cider Mule, with ginger beer, apple cider, and vodka. An Orange Gin & Tonic with Cinnamon is outstanding, too! Or, if you’re a bourbon fan, try a Maple Old Fashioned.


Does apple cider contain alcohol?

This is a tricky question. If you live in the U.S., cider refers to a non-alcoholic, unfiltered, unsweetened apple juice beverage. It’s simply juice squeezed out of ripe apples and it isn’t fermented. However, if you live in other parts of the world, cider refers to a fermented product that contains alcohol, up to 12%.. In the U.S., this alcoholic beverage is usually called “hard cider.”
Note: The recipe for this apple cider mocktail uses non-fermented cider, with no alcohol.

What makes a good mocktail?

There are a few things to look for. Does it have interesting ingredients with complex flavors? Were mixology techniques used in the preparation? Is it presented beautifully? Notice cocktail glasses, garnishes and embellishments.
A mocktail should have the same elements as a good cocktail, without the alcohol.

What kind of alcohol goes best with apple cider?

Since apple cider is full-flavored and quite sweet, we like bourbon, rum, or spiced rum. Add cinnamon-flavored whiskey such as Fireball or Tennessee Fire to either cold or warm apple cider for an easy fall cocktail. If you really want the apple cider to be the star, add vodka.

Make It Your Own

Here’s just a few ideas for you:

  • Change the spices in the simple syrup. Use whole spices, not ground, and mix and match: cinnamon sticks, sliced ginger root, star anise, cloves, peppercorns, a strip of orange zest, etc.
  • Use alcoholic sparkling cider instead of plain apple cider and skip the cocktail shaker. Note: some sparkling ciders contain alcohol so check the labels.
  • Warm it up! Instead of serving this mocktail chilled, gently heat the cider and simple syrup. Serve it in mugs.
  • Try a salted caramel rimmer: Mix 1 tablespoon coarse sugar (such as Demerara) with 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Dip the rim of the glass in caramel sauce, and then into the sugar/salt mixture.

Make-Ahead Ideas

To get a head start on this recipe, prepare the simple syrup up to a week ahead. Pour it into a jar with a lid and store it in the fridge. Cinnamon sugar for the rims can be made anytime.

Make sure you have plenty of fresh ice on hand and your glasses are sparkling clean.

More Delicious Beverages


Apple Cider Mocktail – non-alcoholic drink for fall

4.64 from 11 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 mocktail
Shake up a perfectly chilled spiced apple cider mocktail at your next fall party! It can easily be made into a cocktail too.
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Cinnamon-Ginger Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-2 inches ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced

For One Mocktail

  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon-ginger simple syrup, chilled
  • 1 cup apple cider, chilled
  • ice for mixing
  • cinnamon sugar, for rimming the glass
  • apple slice or cinnamon stick to garnish (optional)


For the Simple Syrup:

  • Mix sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, and sliced ginger root in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until sugar is dissolved.
  • Let cool completely. When cool, strain to remove ginger and cinnamon sticks.

For the Mocktail:

  • Pour cinnamon sugar into a shallow bowl or plate. Prepare martini glass by wetting the rim with apple cider and then dipping in cinnamon sugar.
  • Add ice to martini shaker. Pour in cider and simple syrup. Shake for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Pour into prepared glass. Garnish with apple slice or cinnamon stick.


  • Nutrition information is based on ingredients for one beverage (cider plus 2 tablespoons simple syrup) and does not include garnishes.
  • This is a fairly sweet drink. Adjust the amount of simple syrup to your liking.
  • To make a cocktail, add 1 oz. vodka, bourbon, rum, or spiced rum to shaker.
  • If preferred, instead of using a shaker, serve mocktail with ice in a short tumbler such as a rocks, low-ball, or old-fashioned glass. Garnish as desired.



Calories: 216kcal, Carbohydrates: 56g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 33mg, Potassium: 264mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 52g, Vitamin A: 2IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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4.64 from 11 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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  1. lkr65 says:

    4 stars
    Instead of ginger and cinnamon simple syrup, I did a ginger vanilla one. I made 8 cups worth of this in a pitcher and added some cinnamon sticks and star anise into the pitcher and let it sit for several hours. The recipe as written is very sweet, I ended up cutting the sweetness by adding the juice of one lemon. Delicious!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Sounds wonderful! Vanilla does add a level of sweetness as well.

  2. Katrina says:

    I just found your recipe on Pinterest. I came directly to your site because of my skepticism about “mock” alcoholic drinks, and wanted to see if it was worth pinning. Well, you had me at “hello” because for some off the wall reason the moment I get pregnant all I want in life is an ice cold beer. The fact that I would turn down an ice cold beer for a Dr. Pepper when I’m not pregnant makes no difference. So I’m looking forward to trying your recipe, and the birth of baby number three!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      WHY IS THAT?! So funny! :) Glad you liked my fake-tini…and congrats on #3! :) When are you due?

      1. Katrina says:

        I have no idea why, just that it’s crazy. A few more months and I’ll be enjoying alcohol again!

  3. Kari@Loaves and Dishes says:

    I love mocktails, and this one is just perfect for fall and winter!

  4. Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! says:

    Gosh, this looks good – alcohol or no alcohol!! This would definitely be a hit among my friends!

  5. Baking Serendipity says:

    I love this even without the alcohol! My husband is always frustrated that he’s the driver because after one drink it’s not me. I’m definitely going to bring this to our next get together and let him drink as much as he wants for once :) He’ll thank you big time!

  6. Ashley - Baker by Nature says:

    This is perfect! I’m throwing a little halloween party next month, and all my preggers girlfriends will LOVE sipping on these :)