June 20th, 2017 | By Kelly Magyarics, DWS
Those orange orbs hanging out in in the patch waiting to be picked by hayriders and baked into pies? They do just as well in the shaker, where they add vegetal, distinctively fall flavor that mixes with everything from citrus to cream.
Pumpkin Gin Sour
Recipe courtesy of Trey Azar, Master Distiller, Seersucker Southern Style Gin
Inspired by the rich, aromatic flavors of fall, this Gin sip has a touch of pumpkin butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a sprig of fresh thyme – it’s way better than carving any jack o’lantern.
- 2 oz Seersucker Southern Style Gin (can substitute another Gin)
- ¾ oz lemon juice
- ½ oz pumpkin butter
- 1 egg white
- Dash ground cinnamon, for garnish
- Fresh thyme sprig, for garnish
Add the Gin, lemon juice, pumpkin butter and egg white into a shaker, and dry shake without ice to emulsify. Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with the cinnamon and thyme sprig.
Adapted from a recipe from Stefan Trummer, Trummers on Main, Clifton, Va.
Trummer juices a pumpkin pie-sized pumpkin and adds spice to make a cider that keeps this drink from being too thick. If you are short on time and don’t mind a thicker texture, use canned pumpkin pie filling. Even the pumpkin pie-averse might like its aged Rum kick and marshmallow garnish.
- 2 oz Plantation Grand Reserve Rum
- 2 oz canned pumpkin pie puree
- 1 ½ oz lime juice
- ½ oz maple syrup
- Pinch nutmeg and cinnamon
- Marshmallow, for garnish
Add the first five ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until chilled. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the marshmallow.
Crisp, crunchy and fresh, apples are the perfect summer-to-fall transitional cocktail ingredient that can be brightened with cranberry or given depth with baking spices, and served on the rocks on a mild fall day or in a steaming tipple around a bonfire.
Recipe courtesy of Kevin Felker, Beverage Director, Water Grill
Growing up in New York, Felker was accustomed to the unfiltered, unsweetened, pressed apple juice used every fall to make a warm, sweet mulled drink, and this cocktail is a play on that. “With Whiskey as the base spirit and a good dose of fresh lemon juice, the result is a refreshingly balanced cocktail, with a flavor profile distinctly reminiscent of mulled cider,” he says.
- 2 oz straight Bourbon Whiskey
- ¾ oz unfiltered apple cider
- ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
- ¾ oz vanilla bean syrup (see note)
- ¼ oz Bénédictine
- 1 slice Granny Smith apple, for garnish
- 1 cinnamon stick, for garnish
- Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
Add all ingredients except garnishes to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh one-inch cubes. Garnish with the apple slice, cinnamon stick and freshly grated nutmeg.
For the vanilla bean syrup:
Combine 16 ounces each of turbinado sugar and water in a small saucepan and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add half of the scraped seeds from a vanilla bean. Allow to stand a minimum of one hour at room temperature, and then store in the refrigerator.
Recipe courtesy of Lou DiNunzio, Bar Manager, REX 1516
“Fall always reminds me that it’s apple season and time to break out the hard spices: cinnamon, clove and allspice,” DiNunzio notes. “So with that in mind, a simple mixture of apple Brandy, Averna (an Italian bitter liqueur that smells of holiday spices), and allspice dram seems like a good way to welcome the changing of the seasons.” The lavender garnish, he says, reminds us that everything that’s green will soon be turning gold, orange and red.
- 1 ½ oz apple Brandy
- 1 ½ oz Averna Amaro
- 2 bar spoons allspice dram
- Fresh lavender, for garnish
Add apple Brandy and Averna to a mixing glass, add ice and stir to chill. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and gently pour the allspice dram over the surface. Garnish with the lavender sprig.
Apple a Day
Recipe courtesy of Matt Giarratano, Beverage Director, Bluebird Distilling
At this grain-to-glass craft distillery and cocktail bar outside Philadelphia, Giarratano crafts all kinds of creative concoctions from seasonal ingredients. Here, a sour apple shrub – basically a drinking vinegar – takes center stage, adding mouthwatering acidity and brightness that serves as the perfect foil for spicy Rye Whisky.
- 1 ½ oz Rye Whiskey
- 1 oz sour apple shrub (see note)
- ½ oz honey syrup (equal parts honey and warm water, stirred to combine)
- ¼ oz lemon juice
- 2 drops lavender-peppercorn tincture (can substitute lavender bitters)
- Apple slice, for garnish
Add the first five ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over a large cube, and garnish with the apple slice.
For the sour apple shrub:
Add 1 ¼ cups grated SweeTango or Honeycrisp apples, ¾ cup cane sugar and 1 cup raw apple cider vinegar to a glass Mason jar. Attach the lid and shake liberally to combine. Refrigerate for three or four days. Strain juice into a large bowl, then squeeze remaining juice from apples using a colander. Pour juice into a glass container and keep refrigerated for up to six months.
Recipe courtesy of Tredici Enoteca
This libation is a reminder of the Washington, D.C. area’s falling leaves and the cool skies of our nation’s capital. The addition of apples, Mezcal and Pisco allows the cocktail to tell a story of sweet friends relaxing with spiked cider and enjoying a nice conversation by the fire.
- 2 oz El Silencio Mezcal
- 1 oz Pisco Porton
- 2 oz apple cider or apple juice
- 1 oz egg white
- Freshly grated cinnamon, for garnish
- Apple slice, for garnish
Add the Mezcal, Pisco, apple cider or juice and egg white to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, topping it with the spooned-out foam, and garnish with the grated cinnamon and apple slice.
Pomegranate / Cranberry
Zesty and tart, both of these fruits evoke so many memories of the holiday season, from cranberry sauce served during Thanksgiving dinner, to pomegranate arils studding a Christmas Eve salad. In drinks, they add a gorgeous ruby hue and tangy flavor via garnishes, syrups and infused spirits.
“Little Water” Sour
Recipe courtesy of Danilo Simic, Mixologist, BABA
About the Vodka Sour riff at the Serbian cocktail bar in Northern Virginia, Simic says that “egg white brings great fluffy texture and aromatic bitters [add] aroma and presentation. It will be a great libation to drink next to the BABA fireplace during the holiday season.”
- 1 ½ oz Ketel Kopper Vodka
- ½ oz lime juice
- ¾ oz pomegranate juice
- 1 egg white
- ½ oz simple syrup
- 3 drops Peychaud’s Bitters, for garnish
Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with 3 gentle drops of Peychaud’s Bitters. Using a straw, swirl the bitters into a simple design.
Pomegranate Basil Margarita
Recipe courtesy of The Perfect Puree
Who says a batch of Margaritas needs to be sipped poolside? In this cocktail, aged Tequila lends complex agave notes, basil gives it herbal freshness and pomegranate concentrate provides that much-needed zing.
- 1 ½ oz Tequila Cazadores Reposado
- 1 oz The Perfect Purée Pomegranate Concentrate, thawed
- ½ oz simple syrup
- ½ oz fresh lime juice
- 3 basil leaves
- Coarse salt and lime wedges, for rimming (optional)
- Orange slice, for garnish
If you are rimming the glasses, rub the outside rim with the lime wedge, coat it in coarse salt and then set aside. Add the first five ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake vigorously until well chilled. Strain over fresh ice in the prepared rocks glass and garnish with the orange slice.
Recipe courtesy of Angel Roque, Executive Chef, Cuba Libre
The Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail, evocative of teeny tiny bikinis and the sandy beaches at Ipanema. But it gets a winter makeover in this drink, which mixes cranberry-infused Cachaça with lime, apple cider and sugar cane juice. Christmas by the beach never felt so good.
- 2 oz Fuji apple-infused Velho Barreiro Cachaça (see note)
- 2 lime wedges
- 1 tsp superfine sugar
- 1 splash guarapo (can substitute simple syrup)
- 1 splash lime juice
- 1 splash apple cider
- 2 fresh cranberries, for garnish
Put the lime wedges, Cachaça and superfine sugar in a rocks glass and muddle. Add ice and the rest of the ingredients; stir to combine. Garnish with the fresh cranberries.
For the Fuji apple-infused Cachaça:
Peel and cut 8 Fuji apples. Place in a container along with a 750 ml bottle of Cachaça. Let macerate for 72 hours, then strain out solids.
Get a whiff of a pine or juniper tree, and there is no mistaking that fresh, herbal aroma. In the glass, it’s usually associated with London Dry gin, but that’s not the only trick for adding evergreen to your elixirs. Pine needles, Douglas fir liqueur and other ingredients give those clean, green notes to drinks.
Pacific Coast Highway
Adapted from a recipe by Jim Kearns for Slowly Shirley
There is so much going on in this cocktail, aroma-wise, that you might be apt to sniff it all night instead of sipping it. Cucumber lends freshness, pastis and eucalyptus give it a menthol aroma, while Douglas fir eau de vie and a pine liqueur evoke that unmistakable smell of walking through an evergreen forest. Drink it in.
- 1 muddled cucumber slice
- 1 tsp Angala Pastis
- ¾ oz Fino Sherry
- ¼ oz Douglas Fir Eau de Vie
- ½ oz Zirbenz Pine Liqueur
- 1 oz eucalyptus-infused St. George Spirits Terroir Gin (see note)
- Rosemary sprig, for a garnish
Add all except garnish to a cocktail glass, add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with the rosemary sprig.
For the eucalyptus-infused Gin:
Add 1 cup fresh eucalyptus leaves to a 750 ml bottle of Gin. Let macerate for a day, shaking occasionally. Strain out solids.
Created by Nico de Soto for Miracle
If the Mojito dressed up for the holidays, it would look like this libation. Gin is mixed with aromatic pine liqueur, sweet vanilla syrup and fresh mint leaves, topped with soda. If you have real Christmas tree envy, don’t fear – it’s garnished with a big ol’ sprig of real pine needles.
- 1 ½ oz Gin
- ½ oz Zirbenz Pine Liqueur
- ¾ oz vanilla syrup (see note)
- 3 mint leaves
- Pine needles, for garnish
Smack the mint leaves and put them in a cocktail shaker with the Gin, pine liqueur and vanilla syrup. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice, top with soda and garnish with the pine needles.
For the vanilla syrup:
Combine 16 ounces each of sugar and water in a small saucepan; simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add half of the scraped seeds from a vanilla bean. Allow to stand a minimum of one hour at room temperature, and then store in the refrigerator.
Whether added via citrus liqueur, freshly squeezed orange juice, bitters, an expressed peel or an infused syrup, a lot of cocktails just wouldn’t be the same without the brightening boost of orange.
Sparkling Blood Orange Cocktail
Recipe courtesy of Andrea Correale, Founder and CEO, Elegant Affairs
Think citrus should be relegated to summer Sangria and patio refreshers? Think again. Blood orange is actually a fall and winter ingredient, and it’s just perfect mixed with blackcurrant liqueur and sparkling wine. What’s even better is that these drinks can be mixed in the glass – no shaker required – which translates to a great welcome cocktail for hosts to whip up during busy holiday open houses.
- ¼ oz Crème de Cassis
- 1 ½ cups strained fresh blood orange juice
- 1 750 ml bottle chilled sparkling white wine
- 8 blood orange slices
Put ice in 8 rocks glasses. Add 1 ½ teaspoons Crème de Cassis and 3 tablespoons blood orange juice to each glass, then fill each glass with the sparkling white wine. Stir gently and garnish with a blood orange slice.
Recipe courtesy of Waites Laseter, Root
Here, the warm weather feel of Pisco and orange juice is offset by the caramel nuttiness of 20-year-old Tawny Port. Bitters add depth and shaken egg white gives it an irresistible silky mouth feel.
- 1 oz Sandeman 20 Year Old Tawny Port
- 1 oz Pisco
- 1 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 dash lemon juice
- 2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
- ¼ oz egg white
- El Guapo Love Potion #9 Bitters, for garnish
- Luxardo Maraschino Cherry juice, for garnish
- Lemon twist and Luxardo Maraschino Cherry, for garnish
Add all ingredients except garnishes to a cocktail shaker and dry shake until emulsified. Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Double strain into a coupe glass. Top with the El Guapo bitters and cherry juice, and garnish with the lemon twist and cherry.
Recipe courtesy of Jaime Rios, Top of the Standard
There are a lot of flavors going on in this Port- and Gin-based sip, yet it remains unbelievably easy to sip one – or three. Tawny Port, juniper-forward London Dry Gin and delicate blanc Vermouth mingle with blood orange juice and fragrant mint. Yup, it’s a cocktail that can please pretty much everyone.
- ¾ oz Sandeman 10 Year Old Tawny Port
- 1 ½ oz London Dry Gin
- ¾ oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
- 1 oz blood orange juice
- ¼ oz simple syrup
- 1 bunch fresh mint
- Candied blood orange wheel, for garnish
Add the first five ingredients and 6 mint leaves to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a highball glass over crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and candied blood orange wheel.
Clove-studded oranges, red wine simmering with cinnamon sticks and allspice, and crunchy, zippy gingerbread – baking spices make the holidays sweet. And that’s also true with cocktails. After all, brown booze shines with the addition of a little kick.
Winter is Coming
Recipe courtesy of Justin Garcidiaz, Bar Manager, The Aviary
“Game of Thrones” fans, unite. Garcidiaz just loves the combination of ginger and allspice around the holidays. Rye boosts black pepper notes, Fernet Branca gives it a minty tone and maple syrup adds sweetness to balance it all.
- ¾ oz Primitivo Quilles Vermouth
- ½ oz Old Overholt Rye
- ¼ oz Fernet Branca
- ¼ oz St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
- ¼ oz fresh ginger juice
- ½ oz maple syrup
- Orange peel, for garnish
Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well chilled. Double strain over large rocks in a double Old Fashioned glass and garnish with the orange peel.
Recipe courtesy of Alyson Levy, Andina
A Peruvian twist on an American classic, this cocktail relies on a syrup made with chancaca, an unrefined cane sugar mixed with orange and spices and used to sweeten desserts like picarones. The light coffee infusion adds another Peruvian flavor as well as a touch of bitterness to balance the decadence.
- 2 oz coffee-infused Buffalo Trace Bourbon (see note)
- ½ oz chancaca syrup (see note)
- Orange peel, for garnish
Add the Bourbon and syrup to a rocks glass over a few cubes of ice. Add more ice and garnish with the orange peel.
For the coffee-infused Bourbon:
Soak ½ cup whole Selva Andina coffee beans in a 750 ml bottle of Bourbon for one hour. Strain out solids.
For the chancaca syrup:
Dissolve 2 cones of raw sugar in 1 ½ cups water in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons whole cloves and 2 cinnamon sticks, and simmer until the mixture is reduced to 1 ½ cups. Strain out the spices and let the syrup soak in the peels of 2 oranges for an hour. Strain out the orange peel and store the syrup in the refrigerator.
Recipe courtesy of Aaron Zieske, Bar Manager, Little Bird
“For this holiday cocktail I wanted to highlight the toasted nutty flavors from the walnut liqueur, so adding Scotch and Sherry added nice depth and complexity,” Zieske explained. “The bitters balanced the drink with winter spice.”
- 1 oz Islay Scotch
- 1 oz blended Scotch
- ¾ oz Oloroso Sherry
- ¼ oz Nocello
- 2 dashes allspice bitters
- Orange twist, for garnish
Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail glass, add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain it into a rocks glass over one large cube and garnish with the orange twist.
Ketel One Spiced Winter Cider
Recipe courtesy of Ketel One
This libation drinks like a warm cocktail, but it’s served on the rocks. Vodka, apple cider, lemon and a cinnamon-infused simple syrup make it decidedly autumnal, and ginger beer adds that throat-tingling quality we all love in a Moscow Mule.
- 1 ½ oz Ketel One Vodka
- 1 oz freshly pressed apple cider
- ½ oz fresh lemon juice
- ¾ oz cinnamon simple syrup (see note)
- 2-3 dashes aromatic bitters
- Egg white (optional)
- Ginger beer
- Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
- Red apple slice, for garnish
Combine the first six ingredients in a mixing glass and shake for 30 seconds without ice. Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Strain into a Mason jar filled with fresh ice, top with ginger beer and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and a red apple slice.
For the cinnamon syrup:
Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Add the cinnamon sticks, remove from the heat and let steep until desired flavor is achieved. Strain out solids.
Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.