Hard Cider Sangria
Are you bummed that the summer days of sangria sipping are over? We have just the thing to cheer you up. Get in the mood for fall with this refreshing autumn sangria. Instead of wine, this juicy sangria is made with hard cider spiked with lemon juice and apple brandy. It can be made in big batches, so it’s perfect for fall entertaining.
This updated version of a Stone Wall mixes rum with ginger beer and apple cider for a refreshing cocktail.
Although French in name, this cocktail was designed to highlight Germain-Robin, a brandy distilled in California using high-quality wine grapes. If you can’t get your hands on that, another VSOP brandy will do the trick. The addition of Maple syrup and allspice liqueur give this simple drink a pronounced autumnal flavor that you will love all season long.
Apple Cider-Ginger Shrub
We like cocktails as much as the next guy, but not all great drinks have alcohol. This shrub (a sweet vinegar-based syrup) from F&W’s Test Kitchen is sweet and zippy and as good for a party as it is for a hangover. Fresh apples make it super fruity and seasonal.
If you’re a bourbon drinker, this is the perfect fall cocktail for you. Robb Turner, owner of Crown Maple, uses his richly flavored dark amber maple syrup to make this riff on an Old-Fashioned. It’s everything your traditional Old-Fashioned needs to feel festive and seasonal.
Pomme Pomme Squad
“Calvados is having its moment in cocktails, and thank goodness it is!” says Jessica Sanders about the rich apple brandy. The co-owner of Drink.Well and Backbeat in Austin modeled this Sazerac variation on her favorite apple pie recipe. “This drink has all the elements of that incredible pie in liquid form,” she says.
Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest
One of our favorite fall traditions is the Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest beer. Each year, the Northern California brewing company partners with a different German brewer to create a fall beer fit for the country’s annual festival. This year, Brauhaus Miltenberger is the chosen collaborator and together they have created a traditional, deep golden Oktoberfest beer that has a rich malt flavor.
Ginger’s Lost Island
Bryan Dayton’s mixture of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger liqueur and smoky mezcal evokes everything from Mexican food to the flavors of Asia and India.
Hot Mulled Cider
Chef Ken Oringer of Toro in New York and Boston preheats the Thermos he uses to transport his deliciously spiced cider by filling it with boiling water and letting it sit for a few minutes. Pouring the mulled cider into a Thermos that’s already warm helps keep the drink hot.
Old cocktail books are filled with beer concoctions and for good reason. Here, we mix a lambic with apple vodka and a Scotch-based maple-flavored liqueur for a strong, apple-forward drink.
Move over, pumpkin spice. Our loyalty lies with chai spice. For this warm, boozy nightcap, feel free to use a blend of whole spices or go out and buy a chai spice mix. The result is ultimately the same: a comforting, warm drink that is a nice nod to fall.
Mixologist Ryan Fitzgerald felt inspired to create this spicy fall cocktail after eating apples with peanut butter—a combination he loves but that wouldn’t quite work in a drink. His solution was to mix almond syrup (available at most coffee shops) with apple juice and fiery apple brandy.
Fennel & Fig Infused Vodka
This savory seasonal infusion takes advantage of Blue Hill at Stone Barns’ homegrown produce, but if you can’t make it to Tarrytown, you can work with tyour own fruits and vegetables. The magic of this autumnal drink is that it’s just four simple ingredients and two of them are figs (fresh and dried).
This creamy, spiced drink honors an Irish Halloween bread called barm brack, which contains currants and raisins. Traditionally, various objects—a coin, a ring, a pea—were baked inside the loaf as a kind of fortune-telling game. All we know is that your future self will be very happy if you mix up one of these.
This bubbly, red cocktail is fall’s answer to summer’s Aperol spritz. The numerous cranberries in this concoction complement the hard cider and the Aperol. It is an excellent drink for fall entertaining, whether it’s served during a cocktail party or to sip on before dinner.
The Doubting Duck
Washington, DC, bartender Derek Brown calls The Doubting Duck his ideal aperitif because while it’s low-proof, it’s also amazingly complex. He loves the manzanilla sherry’s savory edge, which makes the drink food-friendly. It’s also easy to mix, just make sure your bar cart is stocked with both celery and orange bitters.
Pear of Desire
Why do apples get all the attention? Pears deserve some love too. This season, narrow your beverage focus in on pear with this fruit-forward vodka cocktail. After the pear juice, our favorite part is the creaminess that comes from just 1/2 ounce of cream soda.
Spiced Pumpkin Lassi
For this thick and creamy pumpkin lassi from chef Rupam Bhagat of Dum in San Francisco, be sure to use a nice, healthy squash for a smooth texture and rich flavor. If you want a thinner consistency, add water gradually 1/4 cup at a time.
When the air gets crisper, the beers get a bit heavier. And if you’re making that turn in your seasonal drinking, the porter from Anchor, America’s oldest craft brewery, is a good place to start. Smooth, malty, but not too sweet, a bottle makes a good companion for sitting on the porch in a sweater.
This big-batch punch is a good enough reason on its own to throw a festive fall bash. Leo Robitschek of The NoMad Bar in New York City makes his cold weather punch with warming flavors of pear, cinnamon and citrus. Your guests will definitely ladle themselves seconds and thirds.
Mulled Red Wine with Muscovado Sugar
Faced with two half-empty bottles of Zinfandel, the F&W Test Kitchen came up with this warm mulled wine, spiced with fennel seeds and cinnamon. We imagine ourselves drinking it by a bonfire on a chilly October night, but we would pretty much enjoy it in any situation on any night.
Whether you want to accept it or not, cold season is upon us. Luckily, we have a cocktail to help with that. At the time she was preparing her bar menu, mixologist Molly Finnegan felt under the weather and uninspired. After a 2 a.m. brainstorming session, this sensational hot toddy improved both her cold and her drink list.
Surly Brewing Co. SurlyFest
Another reliable Oktoberfest beer, Surly Brewing Co.’s SurlyFest is a dry-hopped rye lager that is far less malty than the traditional. This particular beer is so beloved that Surly hosts an annual festival at its Minneapolis brewery in its honor and this is the tenth year! We think that calls for a Prost!
Apple-Brandy Hot Toddies
A hot toddy is basically a shot or two of any potent spirit added to a cup of hot water. At Paley’s Place in Portland, Oregon, bartender Suzanne Bozarth puts a French spin on this warming drink with a slug of apple brandy, such as Calvados. It’s warming and tastes just like fall.
To give this tequila smash an autumnal feel, bar manager Devlin DeVore adds apple juice (“apple” is manzana in Spanish) and cinnamon.
At your next dinner party, consider serving your guests a warming, hot punch to celebrate the newly chilly weather. For hot punches, young Irish whiskeys work best. Heat intensifies the tannic edge of older whiskeys; young ones stay smooth. Here, nutmeg and clove make this punch especially festive and seasonal.
In Cold Blood
This drink, according to Andrew Volk of Portland Hunt & Alpine Club in Maine, is “approachable but geeky with the salt”—which he adds to balance the bitterness of the artichoke-based aperitif Cynar. It may sound complicated, but it’s actually super easy to mix.
After a whole month of seasonal drinking, you might be need a break. That’s why we’re hitting you with a non-alcoholic cocktail at the very end. If your tolerance is higher than we thought, this warm drink can be easily spiked with aged rum or whisky. Here, we garnish our wassail with thin slices of orange, but a dusting of ground cinnamon or a thin slice of apple would be delicious too.
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