Four Fall Cocktails (That Don't Involve Pumpkin Spice)
Having pumpkin spice fatigue? Here's four recipes that'll reap the harvest without the ubiquitous fall ingredient.
According to the calendar, abundance of pumpkin spice lattes (which has hit meme-level with its nickname of "PSL"), and unnecessarily early holiday decor, it's officially fall. With the changing of seasons also comes a changing of cocktail menus. Summer called for spritzes, low-ABV libations, and plenty of tiki drinks, but there's something about fall that makes one crave something warmer, cozier, and perhaps a little spicier.
Bourbon is a no-brainer, but imaginative bartenders all over the country are also finding inspiration in farmers markets, their city's seafaring history, and original twists on old favorites.
At Portland, Oregon's Raven & Rose, they switched a summer favorite, sangria (pictured left), into a warm sipper with the addition of baking spices, ginger syrup, and whiskey barrel-aged bitters. The best part about this sangria? Its versatility. No matter what your season, it can be served ice-cold topped with seltzer, or piping hot — which is how beverage director Dave Shenaut prefers it.
Meanwhile, in another Portland (that's the one in Maine), the maritime-themed Blyth & Burrows keeps their cocktails close to home. With a menu divided into four parts inspired by the trade routes their namesake captains sailed (Silk Road, Amber Road, The Americas, and Navy Strength), any of their winter drinks are guaranteed to keep a seafaring sailor warm. Newest to their fall menu is the Sophia Byzantine, a digestif-styled cocktail made with cold brew coffee and a housemade spicy cherry syrup. Or try the Winslow Homer, a buttery rum cocktail made with the head bartender's own line of bitters.
At Cru Cafe in Charleston, SC, beverage director Jacob Fuhr looks to the farmers market for inspiration — in this case, roasted beets. "I love this drink because of its seasonality," says Fuhr. "It just doesn't work when the ambient temperature is above 60 degrees." Droppin' Beets' subtle, earthy flavors pair nicely with bourbon and ginger syrup, and works as a palate-cleanser as well.
(makes 1 liter)
- 8 oz Cognac
- 5 oz fresh lemon juice
- 5 oz orange juice
- 5 oz honey syrup
- 5 oz house-made ginger syrup
- 5 dashes whiskey barrel-aged bitters
- 13 oz dark, dry red wine (like Malbec or Cab Franc)
Directions: Pour over ice and top with seltzer OR heat in saucepan and serve hot. Dust fresh nutmeg and/or cinnamon and garnish with an orange wheel.
- 2oz Bulleit bourbon
- 1 oz roasted beet juice
- 0.5oz lemon juice
- 0.5oz ginger syrup
Directions: Combine ingredients in shaker and shake vigorously. Strain over a few large cubes in a rocks glass and garnish with fresh "smacked" basil.
by bartender Mike Gatlin
- 1.25 oz Paddy Irish Whiskey
- .5 Averna
- .5 oz cherry syrup*
- .5 oz fresh lemon juice
- .5 oz cold brew coffee
- Luxardo cherry garnish
Directions: Shake the first five ingredients together with ice in a cocktail shaker, strain and serve. Garnish with a cherry.
*Cherry syrup recipe
(this will make enough for several drinks)
- 1 cup cherry juice
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 7 grams pepper
Mix all the ingredients together in a pot. Heat to boiling (just enough to melt the sugar), then remove from the heat. The syrup will keep for six weeks in the refrigerator.
- 1.5 oz brown butter-washed 8 Bells Rum (2 oz brown butter/750ml rum)
- .5 oz pear purée
- .5 oz apple juice
- .5 oz chili-cinnamon syrup (10 cinnamon sticks + 5 Red Fresno chilis/1 liter of syrup at a 1:1 ratio. Heat to dissolve and let rest 3 days)
- .5 oz lemon
- 3 dashes of Owl & Whale Hot Pepper Bitters