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What We're Drinking This Fall

A woman straining a cocktail into a coupe glass.
Tis the season for dark, warming spirits and stirred cocktails. Photo via iStock/gruizza.

Sad as it may be to bid farewell to the long, hot days of summer, bartenders all over the Northern Hemisphere are celebrating the arrival of fall. With its cooler temperatures, dark nights, brisk breezes and vibrantly colored crunching leaves, autumn calls for different drinks all together — gone are the summer days of bright, fruit-forward cocktails meant to cool and refresh. This time of year is about cozying up, both in flavor and in atmosphere.

We spoke with bartenders across the Northern half of the globe about how they shift their menus to accommodate the new season. Read along to find out what they’re most looking forward to drinking this fall.

What is inspiring you this fall?

“This fall we were inspired by the idea of homecoming. Each of us brought to the table some flavors that we associate with home, be it in Poland, Latvia, Turkey or Australia. We wanted to create a very warm and homey atmosphere with the drinks.” — Bart Miedeksza, High Water (London, England)

“Darker flavors, harvest fruits like apple and pear brandy.” — Frederic Yarm, Loyal Nine (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

“Our menu concept is based upon my experience going camping. And I hate camping. We move into cognacs, brandy, lighter whiskeys ... Scotch and house infused rums and cachaca for fall.” — John Maher, owner of The Rogue Gentlemen (Richmond, Virginia)

“Time of reflection — fall tends to be a time of transition and mindfulness. Theme of ‘Turning a new leaf’ and embracing the crispness and color changing magic.” — Becca Wyant, cocktail blogger, Bar De Bex (Oakland, California)

What spices, produce or other (non-alcoholic) ingredients are you excited to use this fall?

“Oranges, tea, apples, molasses, beetroot, thyme, pepper, black currant” — Bart Miedeksza, High Water (London, England)

“Cinnamon syrup, house spice syrup, apple/orchard syrup (boiled down cider)” — Frederic Yarm, Loyal Nine (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

“There's a local southern fruit called a paw paw that we've been using lately. It has a very short season, maybe 4-5 weeks. We also are using pear, apple and fall spices.” — John Maher, owner of The Rogue Gentlemen (Richmond, Virginia)

“Salted butter, duck fat, fresh cranberries.” — Brian Chambliss, Hot Tin/Bayou Bar (New Orleans, Louisiana)

“Pear, guava, pomegranate, apples, mountain sage, cinnamon, cream.” — Becca Wyant, cocktail blogger, Bar De Bex (Oakland, California)

“Bitter melon, mushrooms, squash, sweet peppers, corn, figs, apples, pears.” — Lisa Little, Proper (Fort Worth, Texas)

What spirits/liqueurs do you love drinking in the fall?

“Mainly brown spirits, whisky, cognac, aged rums. I'm particularly fond of Islay whisky in the fall, as well as amari: Montenegro, Fernet Branca, Suze.” — Bart Miedeksza, High Water (London, England)

“Lighter style/younger whiskeys, brandies, cognacs, cachaca and Agricole rum.” — John Maher, owner of The Rogue Gentlemen (Richmond, Virginia)

“Amaro and brandy are my fall favorites.” — Jason Sorbet, 21st Amendment Bar at La Louisiane, New Orleans

“Bourbon, gin, allspice dram, brandy.” — Ryan Keller, Willoughby's On Park (Wyomissing, Pennsylvania)

“Allspice Dram, apple brandy, Falernum, nocello, sweet vermouth, whiskey, gin, Scotch, Cointreau, blackberry brandy.” — Becca Wyant, cocktail blogger, Bar De Bex (Oakland, California)

If you have a new fall menu: what is your favorite cocktail on it? Tell us about it, and why you love it.

“Hey Heywood! (equal parts dry gin, St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur, Yellow Chartreuse and lemon). A play on the Hey Hey/Hoop La/Frank Sullivan from the Savoy Cocktail. Full of fall flavors and spice, it has a great balance without being sharp like the Last Word, so it is more accessible.” — Frederic Yarm, Loyal Nine (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

“Sine Metu — a mix of Jameson, earl grey, nutmeg, cinnamon, anise and apple juice. It reminds me of the apple crumble my granddad used to make around Autumn time. We always used to share it with hot tea of coffee, when it was getting really cold.” — Bart Miedeksza, High Water (London, England)

“It's called Rogue Not Rouge. It uses a rum we made with a local distillery, "spice blend" Evan Williams White Label, Campari, honey syrup and lemon juice. It's a great segue cocktail into fall, as it's still pretty hot and summery here.” — John Maher, owner of The Rogue Gentlemen (Richmond, Virginia)

“On of my favorites coming out is called the Old Industry. We're doing Bayou Satsuma rum, fresh lemon juice, honey syrup, Bitter Queens Tobacco bitters, and topping it with Parish Canebrake. It's got a dry cider flavor, but with a juicy texture and those 'fall spice' flavors. It goes down easy.” — Jason Sorbet, 21st Amendment Bar at La Louisiane, New Orleans

“The Fall Fashioned, brown butter infused bourbon with apple bitters and apple pie spice love the fact that it taste like fall but without being a sweet cocktail, great supper for the holidays.” — Brian Chambliss, Hot Tin/Bayou Bar (New Orleans, Louisiana)

“The Bitter Italian: basil, barrel aged gin, Campari, sage simple, lemon. I love this drink because it’s balanced, delicious and the barrel aged gin brings a great flavor to it.” — Ryan Keller, Willoughby's On Park (Wyomissing, Pennsylvania)

“Notable Scheme: (1.5 ounce Liard's Apple Brandy, 1.5 ounce Blackberry Brandy, 0.25 ounce Allspice Dram) Since fall is the time of change, hopefully it's kind of change that we love. The kind of transition that we put our boots on for, and breathe in deeply as we stroll through the streets with the leaves crunching below our feet. The idea behind this cocktail is that, whatever's in store for this round— start it off smart. This brandy cocktail brings in those defined mouth-warming sensations of apple and blackberry. A drink that you fully embrace. One you take your time with before making those big decisions, so you can be as bold as possible when the time comes.” — Becca Wyant, cocktail blogger, Bar De Bex (Oakland, California)

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