3 Essential Tips For Delicious Fall Cocktails

Tip 1: Add A Touch of Complexity

Here in the Northeast, fall is a time of transition from hot summer to brisk snowy winter. As the weather changes, so do the cocktails. Summer cocktails are simple, cold and refreshing. Winter cocktails tend to be complex and warming. And a good fall cocktail can reflect the transitory nature of the season, capturing elements from both of these styles of drink.  A delicious (and super easy) way to combine these two extremes during the fall is to take a summer favorite like a Margarita or Daiquiri, and add a touch complexity with an aged or smoked spirit.

Fall Daiquiri

Fall Daiquiri

Daiquiris are arguably one the all-time greatest cocktails, so when the cooler weather shows up, we are definitely not just ready to ditch them. Instead, we’ve found this simple way to tweak the recipe to add some complexity and warmth.

oz light rum
½oz aged rum – we love Barbencourt 8 year old rum from Haiti
¾oz simple syrup
¾oz fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and serve up in a coup.

Smoky Mezcal-ita


Similar to how we modified the Daiquiri, this Margarita variation swaps in smoky and complex Mezcal for part of the tequila.

oz Tequila
½oz Mezcal
¾oz Cointreau
¾oz fresh lime juice
¼oz simple syrup

Both of these cocktails typically contain 2 fluid ounces of their base spirit, rum for the daiquiri and tequila for the margarita. Early in the fall, I like to substitute about a quarter of the base (0.5 oz) for a more complex spirit. The closer we get to the Holidays, the more of a switch I typically do, usually maxing out at around a 50-50 mix or 1oz light rum, 1 oz aged rum in the Daiquiri and 1oz each tequila and mezcal in the Mezcal-ita.

Tip 2: Use a Quality Craft Cocktail Mixer

When you don’t have a handy bottle of apple brandy, the time to whip up a batch of simple syrup and then wait for it to cool, or the energy to juice 10 lemons, quality craft cocktail mixers like our Maple Whiskey Sour and Spiced Old Fashiond are great standbys.  A good craft mixer offers convenience without compromising flavor. To check you are getting the real deal, read the ingredients and avoid any product with an ingredient list that contains the words “concentrate” or “extract.”

Maple Whiskey Sour

Maple Whiskey Sour

For our Maple Whiskey Sour, we combine fresh lemon juice, superior quality maple syrup, and small batch bitters.

2oz bourbon or rye
2oz Maple Whiskey Sour mixer
Shake with ice and serve up in a coup or on the rocks

Spiced Old Fashioned

SOF with Michters

2oz bourbon or rye
1/2oz Spiced Old Fashioned mixer

Stir 30 seconds with ice and serve “on the rock” in whiskey glass with a single large ice cube. To learn more about making the perfect Old Fashioned from scratch, check out our post here.

Tip 3: Break Out the Brandy

Brandy is seriously underappreciated. And I get it. To the uninitiated, it can sound like the kind of uncool thing your grandparents might drink. Or perhaps it just seems mysterious and intimidating. But it’s neither and here is the big secret: brandy is just liquor made from fruit. That’s it. Whiskey is made from grains, rum from sugarcane, and brandy from fruits like apples, pears, and grapes. One of the more popular brandies here in the US is Applejack – basically distilled apple cider. After pumpkin, apple cider is probably the most quintessential fall flavor. When looking to quickly and easily shake up a few fall cocktails, look no further than a bottle of Applejack.

Jack Rose

Jack Rose

An incredibly simple cocktail with a bright pink color and pomegranate-apple flavor, the Jack Rose cocktail is a real fall favorite.

2oz Applejack
¾oz Fresh lemon juice
¾oz Grenadine
2 dashes aromatic bitters (optional)
Shake with ice and serve up in a coup.

To make the grenadine: combine 1 cup sugar with 1 cup POM Wonderful pomegranate juice in a pot on the stove. Heat until just below a boil, stir until the sugar is dissolved, then bottle and store in the fridge.

Calvados Sour

If you are feeling extra fancy, look for a bottle of Calvados, a French Apple Brandy. My favorite brand is actually a 70-30 mix of apples and pears.

2oz Calvados
¾oz fresh lemon juice
¾oz simple syrup

Shake with ice and serve up in a coup.

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