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Stogie Spirits: Stonewall Jackson

12 Nov 2008

When winter comes the cigars get shorter and the drinks warmer. So when I recently lit up a petit corona, and plugged in the space heater to fight off the cold on my front porch, I went in search of a warm drink.

Now some say that enough alcohol itself has warming qualities—and having had my fair share of tequila and whiskey I’m not sure I disagree—but I’m looking for an immediate and obviously warm drink. At times like this I often turn to a reliable warm apple cider and bourbon, also known as a “Stonewall Jackson” (so named because the revered Confederate General reportedly enjoyed the drink).

The basic recipe is really quite simple: warm cider and bourbon usually in a three- or four-to-one ratio to taste. But there are many variations that can improve the drink greatly. Various recipes recommend a variety of spices that can be added. At the very least, I think a cinnamon stick or two add depth.

The proper way to heat the cider is in a saucepan on a stove, not in the microwave (although I’ll admit on occasion I’ve broken this rule). Use low heat and slowly increase the flame until steam begins coming off the top. High heat will cause the cider to separate. Then add bourbon, stir well, and use a punch ladle to serve.

While the traditional recipe calls for bourbon, I’ve come across many that use other whiskeys—some even rum. While I can’t vouch for rum-based hot cider (although it sounds tasty enough, particularly with spiced rum), I can tell you it tastes just fine with Tennessee whiskey like Jack Daniels, or with a rye whiskey like Old Overholt. Still, in my opinion, the sweetness of bourbon works best with the sweet cider and subtle cinnamon.

That sweetness, though, makes pairing a Stonewall Jackson with a cigar challenging; if you’re not careful the sugar will run over your cigar. So I recommend a smoke with strong flavors. The 601 Oscuro “Green” Robusto works well, as does the Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Petit Corona. The Macanudo 1968, CAO Brazilia, and Arganese ML3 also come to mind as prime pairings.

Ultimately, no matter what cigar you pick, I think you’ll find the Stonewall Jackson to be the perfect drink to warm you up for those cold cigar-smoking nights.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

6 Responses to “Stogie Spirits: Stonewall Jackson”

  1. Templeton Rye Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 9:31 am #

    Hi Patrick, thanks for the link to our blog. We agree – this is the perfect time of year to warm your soul with a fine cigar and hot cider and rye!

    – The TR Team

  2. CWS Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 9:44 am #

    Buy a bottle of Maker's Mark. Place about 10-15 cinnamon sticks and several tablespoons of peppercorns into the bottle. Add some bitters and let sit for about 15-30 days.

    After sitting for the right amount of time, pour the Maker's Mark into 1-2 gallons of apple cider. Make sure you drain off the cinnamon sticks before placing into the cider.

    Heat on low or simmer until nice and hot.

    Pour into a travel coffee mug (for insulation) and enjoy it outside with your cigar.

    Having the cinnamon, pepper and the bitters blend into the whiskey adds great taste. Yes – I know 15-30 days is a lot of time, but you can always start the mix in September/October in order to be ready for mixing with the cider in November.

  3. CWS Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 11:30 am #

    Maker's Mark & Cider revisisted:

    You should also add cloves to the Maker's Mark too –

  4. Paul Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 4:53 am #

    FYI, Jack Daniel's is a Tennessee whisky. They take quite a bit of pride in that.

  5. Patrick S Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 10:42 am #


    You're quite correct about that. As someone who takes his whiskey drinking quite seriously, that typo is rather embarrassing.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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