This apple cider gin margarita (margatini) is a delicious alternative to a classic margarita made with tequila. Made with apple cider and garnished with a salted cinnamon sugar rim, this margatini will introduce a whole new world of flavor to your tastebuds!
Margaritas are super popular during holidays like Cinco de Mayo and at summer parties and barbecues. A margarita is my go-to drink, and with Fall around the corner, I wanted to create a cocktail recipe I can keep drinking into the Holiday season.
Apple cider margaritas are absolutely delicious Fall cocktails. Because of how well herbal gin pairs with sweet cider and tangy lime juice (like in a classic gin and tonic), I decided that a gin margarita would be the perfect flavorful twist.
Margaritas are one of my favorite drinks because of how versatile they are! If you prefer tequila in your margarita, make my skinny spicy jalapeño margarita. My creamy espresso martini, Tinto de Verano, and lime vodka seltzer are also delicious for your next cocktail night.
Why This Recipe Works
- No tequila- You don't need tequila to make a tasty margarita. The herbal flavor of gin pairs incredibly well with lime juice and orange liqueur.
- Quick and easy- All you need to do is combine the ingredients and shake well.
- Perfect for Fall- Serve this light and refreshing cocktail at a Fall picnic, Halloween party, or with Thanksgiving dinner.
Watch How to Make This Recipe
For quantities, see the recipe card below.
- Gin- Any kind of gin works, like London Dry, Plymouth, Old Tom, or New Western Dry. Different types of gin have different flavors, so experiment and use whatever kind tastes best to you!
- Orange liqueur- Cointreau is my favorite, but triple sec and Grand Marnier work too.
- Apple cider
- Lime juice- Use fresh lime juice, not bottled! It makes a huge difference.
- Maple syrup
- Cinnamon, sugar, and coarse salt (optional for the rim)
- Apple slices, cinnamon sticks, rosemary (optional garnishes)
- Gin: Swap for tequila or mezcal for a smoky twist.
- Orange liqueur: Swap for orange juice for a lower ABV cocktail.
- Apple cider: If apple cider is out of season, use 100% apple juice.
- Maple syrup: You can use agave, simple syrup, or honey to sweeten.
Helpful Equipment and Tools
Step by Step Instructions
Here are the steps to make the margatini.
STEP 1: Prepare the salty cinnamon sugar. First, mix together 1 tablespoon sugar with ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon and a pinch of flaky salt in a shallow bowl.
STEP 2: Coat the rim. Run a lime wedge around the rim of your glass and place it upside down in sugar mixture. Twist and tilt the glass a little so that the sugar coats and sticks to all parts of the rim. Set aside.
TIP - Hold your glass upside down while rubbing the lime wedge around the rim so lime juice doesn't run down the sides of the glass.
STEP 3: Make the cocktail. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Then, add the gin, orange liqueur, lime juice, apple cider, and maple syrup. Shake well for 30 seconds to combine the flavors. The shaker will feel super cold.
STEP 4: Pour. Fill your glass ¾ of the way with ice. Then, strain or pour in the apple cider gin margarita.
STEP 5: Garnish. Add a thin apple slice, lime wheel, rosemary sprig, star anise, and cinnamon stick. Light the cinnamon stick on fire (carefully!) for a smoky effect if desired.
Use fresh lime juice for the best taste. 1-2 limes should be the right amount for 1oz of lime juice depending on the size. I recommend using a citrus squeezer to get the most juice from your limes.
Because this recipe has a mixer (the apple cider), it is ok to shake the gin. You shouldn't shake gin when using it in a drink that only contains spirits, like a martini or Manhattan.
You can use a jar with a lid instead of a cocktail shaker. Remember to strain the cocktail while pouring it into the glass.
Additions and Variations
- Spicy- Instead of cinnamon, use Tajin or chili powder on the rim. Add a few jalapeño slices to the cocktail shaker. Muddle them before shaking.
- Herbal- Add more fresh herbs like basil and thyme to compliment the gin. You could even add some juniper berries.
- Frozen- Blend the ingredients with about ½ cup frozen ice until smooth and slushy-like. You could also try with frozen apple chunks!
- Pitcher- Quadruple this recipe to make a pitcher for a party of four! I recommend stirring everything together in the pitcher instead of shaking. Salt the rim of each glass individually before serving.
Make Ahead and Storage
You can make a pitcher of apple cider gin margaritas ahead of time! Stir the ingredients together in a pitcher, but don't add ice or garnishes. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container, but it'll be best after 1 day. When you're ready to enjoy, salt the rim of your glass, add the ice, and pour in the cocktail.
Follow the same method to store leftover cocktails. Be sure to strain out any ice so the margatini doesn't get too diluted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Simply omit the gin, use a non-alcoholic gin alternative, or use a little sparkling water instead.
You can use gin, vodka, white rum, or mezcal in a margarita. Each will have a different flavor.
It's ok in this recipe because it has a mixer. Don't shake gin when using it in cocktails that only contain spirits, like a martini or Manhattan. Shaking can cause the gin to "bruise" and make the distinct juniper odor dull and bland.
More Drinks and Cocktails to Try
Apple Cider Gin Margarita (Margatini)
Cinnamon Sugar Rim
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt flaky, course, or Himalayan pink salt
Apple Cider Gin Margarita
- 2 oz gin
- ½ oz orange liqueur
- 4 oz apple cider
- 1 oz lime juice
- ½ oz maple syrup
- 1 apple slice optional garnish
- 1 rosemary sprig optional garnish
- 1 cinnamon stick optional garnish
- Rub a lime wedge around the entire rim of a glass.
- Mix the sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a shallow bowl or small plate. Dip the rim of the glass into the mixture and turn until salt sticks to the rim. Fill the glass ¾ of the way full with ice. Set aside.1 tablespoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the gin, orange liqueur, apple cider, lime juice, and maple syrup. Shake well for 30 seconds.2 oz gin, ½ oz orange liqueur, 4 oz apple cider, 1 oz lime juice, ½ oz maple syrup
- Strain or pour the cocktail into the prepared glass. Garnish with an apple ring, rosemary sprig, and cinnamon stick and enjoy.1 apple slice, 1 rosemary sprig, 1 cinnamon stick