Apple Martini Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 5 min.
Created in the '90s and still going strong, the sour candy-inspired apple martini is an easy, refreshing cocktail for any occasion.

Updated: May 12, 2024

The apple martini is a luminous vodka-based cocktail reminiscent of green Jolly Ranchers in both hue and taste. Created in 1997 by Adam Karsten at West Hollywood bar Lola’s, the appletini is easily one of the most famous fruity cocktail inventions leading up to the new millennium. While the modern cocktail renaissance has seen folks move away from this style of carefree, fruity drinks, the apple martini remains popular. Made correctly, it can even pass for a more sophisticated sip.

The most popular appletini recipe features vodka, sour apple liqueur and lemon juice, but you’ll also encounter versions with Triple Sec or sour mix. Most sour apple liqueurs are vibrant green, lending the drink its bright hue.

Like many easy mixed drinks, the appeltini is strong and simple, usually hovering around 25 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). With its in-your-face candy apple flavor, this apple martini recipe is a fun cocktail to offer at parties—or when you’re craving a drinkable dessert.

Apple Martini Ingredients

  • Vodka: The bones of your appletini. Vodka is the neutral base that lets the apple schnapps shine. Use your go-to vodka brand.
  • Sour apple liqueur: Sweet-tart sour apple liqueur (aka schnapps) brings the apple to the appletini. Keep in mind some brands are sweeter than others. You may need to tinker with the amount of lemon juice in the recipe. PS: Here’s the difference between liquor and liqueur.
  • Lemon juice: Grab a lemon for this one. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is much better than anything from a bottle. Lemon ever-so-slightly dilutes the sweetness while highlighting the tart. You can also use sour mix instead of lemon juice.
  • Garnish: A whisper-thin apple slice makes the perfect finishing touch for your apple martini. There are many types of apples to choose from: mouth-puckering Granny Smith, sweet Pink Lady or the aptly named Honeycrisp.


  • Cocktail shaker: A cocktail shaker is a must-have for your home bar setup, and if you’re someone who enjoys mixing drinks at home, one of the cocktail tools you’ll often return to. You’ll use it to mix and chill your appletini.
  • Jigger: The jigger is even more important than the shaker. It measures the various liquid cocktail components.
  • Strainer: Technically, you can use the lid of your shaker to strain the appletini into a cocktail glass. You can also use a Hawthorne strainer, which fits over most standard shakers. They’re handy to have but optional.
  • Paring knife: Your handy kitchen paring knife is precisely what you want to reach when slicing apples and other cocktail garnish ideas.


Step 1: Fill the cocktail shaker

Fill the cocktail shaker with ice so it’s about three-quarters full. Pour in the vodka, apple liqueur and lemon juice. Secure the lid and shake for 10 to 15 seconds.

Editor’s Tip: To tell if your appletini is chilled correctly, look for condensation forming outside the cocktail shaker.

Step 2: Strain and garnish

Strain the apple martini into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of apple.

Apple Martini Variations

  • Use flavored vodka: Customize your apple martinis with flavored vodka. Apple, lemon, berry, cherry and pear all pair nicely with apple.
  • Try other liqueurs: Substituting apple brandy (like Calvados) or apple cider for the apple schnapps gives this appletini drink recipe a modern, more elegant twist and dryer flavor profile. Use butterscotch schnapps to make caramel apple martinis, Licor 43 for a hint of vanilla or Triple Sec for a touch of orange.
  • Swap out garnishes: A brandied or maraschino cherry or classic lemon twist makes elegant alternatives to the apple slice garnish.
  • Jazz up the rim: Decorate your martini glass with a sugared rim. Lace a tablespoon or two of sugar with cinnamon or grated citrus peel, or drizzle caramel along the rim of the glass.

Can you make apple martinis ahead of time?

Mixing appletinis in advance is easy, whether you’re making one or making batched cocktails for a party. Prep and strain out the ice, then pop the cocktail in the fridge until it’s time to start sipping. Pour the ingredients (scaled up) into a pitcher without ice for batched appletinis and refrigerate. For best results, wait until you’re ready to serve the drinks before garnishing the cocktail glasses.

Apple Martini Tips

What’s the best vodka to use for apple martinis?

You can use any decent-quality vodka you like for appletinis. A good-quality neutral vodka, like Smirnoff, Absolut or Ketel One, is perfect (unless you’re playing with different flavor combos).

What can you use instead of a cocktail shaker to make martinis?

You can still make apple martinis without a cocktail shaker. All you need is a container with a lid. Mason jars, travel mugs and reusable water bottles all work great. If you’re in a bind, stir the appletinis in a mixing glass using a bar spoon, then strain the drink into the chilled martini glass.

How do you chill a martini glass?

To chill your cocktail glass, pop it in the freezer for half an hour. If you’ve forgotten to chill a glass in advance (we’ve all been there), dampen a paper towel and wrap it around the cocktail glass, then put it in the freezer for a few minutes. You can also fill the glasses with a 50/50 mixture of ice and water to quickly chill them down while mixing the drinks.

How do you keep apple slices from browning for apple martini garnish?

Good old lemon juice is your best bet for preventing the apple slices from oxidizing. Use a pastry brush to gently brush both sides of each apple slice with lemon juice. Honey water is your second option. Dissolve 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey in 1 cup of water and soak the apple slices in the mixture for 30 seconds to one minute. This method has the added benefit of infusing the apples with a subtle honey flavor that’s pretty exquisite with the appletini recipe.

Watch how to Make Apple Martini

Apple Martini

Prep Time 5 min
Yield 1 serving


  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1-1/2 ounces sour apple liqueur
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Green apple slice, optional


  1. Fill a shaker three-fourths full with ice. Add the vodka, apple liqueur and lemon juice. Cover and shake for 10-15 seconds or until condensation forms on outside of shaker. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. If desired, garnish with apple slice.

Nutrition Facts

2/3 cup: 285 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 1mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

This icy-cold appletini recipe is very refreshing with a nice hint of sour. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Recipe Creator