Appletini Recipe

By Timo Torner / Last updated on June 15, 2023

The Appletini is a bright green, sweet-and-sour Martini based on vodka and apple schnapps. It is a well-known party drink, especially in the US.
Appletini cocktail with apple slices

Most likely, the last time you saw an Appletini on your favorite bar's menu was a while ago. What once was an ultra-hyped cocktail is now deemed quite uncool. But when you look 25 years back, this green drink dominated clubs and bars. 

Quick Facts Appletini

  • Method: shaken
  • Flavor profile: sour, sweet
  • How to serve it: straight up
  • Glassware: Martini glass
  • Alcohol content: ~ 20% ABV, 17 grams of alcohol per serving

This cocktail is so easy to drink that it was taken off bar menus because things went out of control.

Appletini cocktail with apple slices

Appletini Cocktail Recipe

A more refined recipe of a polarizing modern-classic cocktail.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Martini
Calories: 188kcal
Cost: $2.10


  • 1 Jigger
  • 1 Cocktail Shaker
  • 1 Hawthorne Strainer


  • 50 ml Ketel One Vodka
  • 25 ml DeKuyper Pucker sour apple schnapps
  • 10 ml Rich simple syrup
  • 10 ml Fresh lime juice
  • 5 ml Fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Absinthe


  • Absinthe-rinse a chilled Coupe or Martini glass and set aside.
  • Add Vodka, apple schnapps, simple syrup, lime juice, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
  • Shake until the drink is well-chilled and then strain into your glass.
  • Garnish with Granny Smith apple slices or fan.


Serving: 3.5ozCalories: 188kcalCarbohydrates: 16.23gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.03gSodium: 2.48mgPotassium: 46.79mgSugar: 14.1gVitamin C: 6.14mgCalcium: 14.24mgIron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Our Appletini recipe calls for two main components: vodka and sour apple liqueur in a ratio of 2:1. Here is the entire shopping list, including our recommendations:

  • Vodka: The original recipe asks for Ketel One Vodka and I like to stick to that. Having said that, if you already have your favorite, go with that.
  • Apple Schnapps: The original Appletini from the 90s included DeKuyper Pucker Sour Apple Schnapps, and there's no reason to change that. It has a more natural taste than most other competitors and is affordable.
  • Simple syrup: This sugar syrup for cocktails is a mix of sugar and water. Buy it in your local supermarket, or make a rich simple syrup at home.
  • Lemon and lime juice: Always use freshly squeezed citrus juice to balance the sweetness of the syrup and the low-ABV apple liqueur.
  • Absinthe: The high-proof has not been part of the original recipe. The anise-flavored spirit helps to further balance the sweetness by bringing in just a little of an edge and some subtle herbal notes.

Tips for the best Appletini

With a drink that is served straight up, all components, including the glass, should be chilled. That means you should put the glass into a freezer for at least 15 minutes before preparing the drink. 

If no freezer is in sight, add ice cubes to the glass before mixing and discard them again before pouring the Appletini. 

Also, shake for about 10 seconds to ensure all ingredients are well-blended and ice-cold when serving the cocktail.

What is Apple Schnapps?

Schnapps is a distilled spirit usually sweetened with a fruity syrup, mainly known and sold in North America. Most of these schnapps fruit liqueurs in the US contain between 10% and 20% of alcohol. 

DeKuyper Pucker Sour Apple Schnapps has an intense taste of sweet and sour apples, the sugar content is estimated at 5g per ounce (the brand doesn't give numbers), and it has 15% ABV.

Note: Don't confuse these flavored schnapps liqueurs with Schnaps you get in Europe, especially Germany. It's typically a clear high-proof distillate, often based on fruit one would drink in a shot.

Recipe Variations

The most simplistic variation of the Appletini only asks for two ingredients. It is a mix of two parts vodka and one part apple. For said apple part, you can use anything. -From apple juice to cider and the DeKuyper Pucker sour apple schnapps.

Over time countless more variations on the classic recipes appeared. For example, you can enhance the base recipe with additional ingredients:

  • You can add dry vermouth or a shot of Cointreau to make an Appletini twist.
  • Some add Calvados to their Apple Martini recipe.
  • A common variation called Rumpletini replaces the Vodka part with white Rum.
  • Other less popular twists also include whiskey and vanilla liqueur.
  • There's even an almost dessert-like variation, with tequila, butterscotch schnapps, and apple cider. 

History of the Appletini

The history of the Appletini starts in 1996 at Lola's Restaurant in West Hollywood (closed since 2013). When a Ketel One sales representative approached owner and manager Loren Dunsworth, she asked one of her barkeepers to get creative with it.

Bartender Adam Karston mixed up a pretty simple drink. He came up with a twist on a classic Martini, made of equal parts Vodka and DeKuyper Pucker sour apple schnapps, he rounded it off by adding a splash of a sweet-and-sour mix. 

The initial name of his creation was "Adams Apple Martini", a wordplay referring to its inventor's first name. Little did he know he had invented one of the most famous drinks of the late 90s and early 2000s.

What happened next is hard to believe. The new drink on the menu became tremendously successful. 

The cocktail was an instant crowd favorite at Lola's. More than once, people became unintentionally excessively drunk because this sweet and sour creation does an excellent job of hiding the alcohol.

In fact, at one point, the bar had to take it off the menu. Because people could not taste how much alcohol was in it, they started to drink way more than they should have. 

However, taking it off the menu didn't stop the popularity of the Appletini. Soon, the cocktail was a crowd favorite all over the United States.

But this overly easy-to-drink trait also led to the fact that the green apple cocktail never was seen as a "cool" drink. Instead, the Appletini often is an expression of unmanliness in movies and series. 

The Appletini in TV shows

Two of the most popular TV shows in the 2000s, Scrubs and Two and a Half Men prominently featured the Appletini. J.D. played by Zack Braff (Scrubs), named it his favorite cocktail, and so did Alan Harper, played by Jon Cryer.

Not only in these two shows but almost always when this sour Apple Martini comes up, it is accompanied by a feminine touch and deemed girly.

Why the girly reputation?

The reasons why the cocktail is regarded as feminine and girly are simple. Through the sweet and sour apple taste, you can hardly taste the alcohol.

It's easy to drink and indeed ordered more frequently by women because their tastebuds are more sensitive to certain bitter flavors.

Nevertheless, in reality, many men also -some openly, others more discreetly- loved and continue to love the Apple Martini. 

Over time, though, just as with other unbalanced cocktail recipes, the Appletini evolved, and today, you can find many different recipes. -Some are far from being considered girly.

However, using fresh ingredients and a better balance between sweet and sour creates a more refined version of an Appletini. -For instance, applying the Absinthe rinse to the Martini twist makes it already more complex.

Related Cocktails

There are many more popular twists on the classic Martini that you should try, for instance:

If you want to try something else but stick to vodka as a base, here's a list of our favorite Vodka cocktails.

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