As the days grow shorter and the air gets crisper, you may find yourself especially in need of a good cocktail with which to watch the leaves turn. Whether you’re treating yourself on Halloween, cooking on Thanksgiving, or just taking some time to celebrate the season as it passes, keep the blues away with an autumn-inspired drink. Here is a list of the most popular and most essential autumn cocktail varieties, from apples onwards.
Break out the cider
One of the most popular variety of autumn alcoholic drinks are those based on apple cider. The classic cider drink is of course mulled cider, which is made by steeping cider with mulling spices like cinnamon and allspice as well as lemon zest or even a whole orange, depending on the recipe. Other variations pair cider with bourbon and lemon, tuaca and cinnamon, or even Dewar’s and honey. No matter how its served, its fruity and spicy flavors make apple cider a key fall cocktail ingredient.
The fruits of winter
While one tends to think of fruit in the summer time, there is a whole range of cocktails that start with seasonal fruits in autumn. For one, the tart cranberry can be a taciturn fruit, but it marries well with bourbon for a strong variation of the Old Fashioned or a tangy punch to serve at autumn get-togethers. Pumpkin is not just for lattes and can be a strong, flavorful addition to mulled wines and other drinks with pumpkin cordials in particular. For the ultimate autumn fruit cocktail, try a winter fruit sangria with figs, apricots, and cranberries alongside brandy and rioja or merlot.
Some of the best fall cocktails are the ones that warm you up on chilly evenings. On this front, hot toddies are the classic marriage of hot spices and liquor, beginning with Scottish recipes that mixed whiskey, cloves, lemon, and cinnamon. Try the Ontario hot toddy with heated ginger ale, honey, and whiskey or brandy, or any number of variations with anything from hot tea to cider and other fall flavors. For a more festive drink, look to tea and cider wassail, which brings together cranberry and orange juice, apple cider, lemon, spices, and hot tea for an aromatic celebration of the season.
This is the best time for brown liquors like bourbon and brandy because they add a spicy warmth to cocktails and mixed drinks. These pair particularly well with the nutty flavor of walnut liquer, so try combining it with brandy and vermouth for a flavorful marriage of fruit and nut, or simply add walnut liquer to create nutty twists on the classics like hot and nutty whiskey sours. For more biting flavor, use ginger liquor in fun variations like a ginger julep, or start from a gin base to create throat-tickling drinks like a Victorian gin punch. With honey, cinnamon, and so many other spices, too, the options for a flavorful fall cocktail are practically endless!