5 Fall Cocktails to Mix This Season
November 18, 2023
The holiday season brings out the best of my bartending skills. I love mixing up delicious cocktails for the family (and myself lol).
I bring a new cocktail to one of our Thanksgiving dinners every year.
I put together a list of my favorite cocktails to make for Thanksgiving including ones that are a hit with the fam.
**Please enjoy responsibly**
1) Spiked Apple Cider
Apple cider is the superior drink of fall. I said what I said...
And when you can throw a little alcohol in the mix, you have the perfect combination of fall vibes.
- High-quality apple cider, preferably from your farmers market or local orchard. Look for unfiltered cider, which maintains the best flavor and color. If you’re in a time crunch and want to make your life super easy, you can always buy a pre-spiced apple cider and add rum to that.
- Whole spices: cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. Make sure to use the whole versions of these spices, not ground, which is key to getting the best flavor. Star anise is the most unique of these spices to the American kitchen: it should be available at most grocery stores or you can buy star anise online.
- Bourbon or rum: White, aged or dark rum works for the rum. Or use your favorite type of bourbon!
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- 3 star anise
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 8 cups apple cider
- 1 cup rum (of any kind) or bourbon
- For the garnish: star anise, cinnamon stick, orange slice
- Toast the spices: Add the spices to the bottom of a pot. Toast over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
- Simmer: Turn the heat to low. Pour in the apple cider and bring to below a simmer, just barely bubbling. Set a timer for 30 minutes and reduce to low heat (don’t let it simmer).
- Filter: Skim off any particulate that rises to the top of the pot using a fine mesh sieve or strainer (or you can pour it through a strainer into another pot).
- Serve: Pour in the rum or bourbon (or add 2 ounces to each 1 cup serving). Ladle into 8 mugs. If desired, garnish with star anise, cinnamon stick, or an orange slice.
2) Harvest Punch
Cider and ginger beer might seem like a weird pairing, but with fresh fruit and cinnamon (plus bubbly!), it's next level. You'll want to make it for every fall party and tailgate. This punch is perfect for larger gatherings.
You will need
- 6 cups ice
- 1/2 gallon apple cider
- 1 (750 mL) bottle Prosecco, chilled
- 1 cup vodka
- 2 (12-oz.) can ginger beer
- 3 apples, sliced
- 2 oranges, sliced into triangles, plus more for rimming
- 8 cinnamon sticks
- Cinnamon sugar, for rimming
Here's how to make it
- In a large punch bowl, add ice. Pour in apple cider, Prosecco, vodka, and ginger beer. Add apples, oranges, and cinnamon sticks.
- Using an orange slice, wet rim of glasses, then dip into cinnamon sugar, turning to coat. Serve punch in rimmed glasses.
And for a perfect dessert drink...
3) Pumpkin Pie Martini
Crafted with the rich, velvety notes of pumpkin puree, complemented by the warmth of seasonal spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, this martini captures the essence of a freshly baked pumpkin pie.
A splash of vanilla-infused vodka adds a touch of sweetness, while a graham cracker rim provides the perfect nod to the pie's crust.
Sip and savor the flavors of fall in a glass, as this Pumpkin Pie Martini takes you on a liquid journey through the cozy comforts of the holiday season.
- 3 ice cubes
- 2 ounces Pumpkin Spice Vodka (substitution: regular or vanilla vodka)
- 1 ounces Dark Rum (substitution: Rum Chata)
- 2 TBS Pumpkin Puree (canned or homemade)
- 1 ounces maple syrup
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- Optional: a pinch of Pumpkin Pie Spice
- ½ ounces half and half (substitution: Irish Cream)
- Maple syrup to taste
- 1 whole Graham Cracker
- 1/4 tsp EACH: Pumpkin Pie Spice & Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- Whipped cream - to taste
- Pumpkin Pie Spice - to taste
- Cinnamon stick - to taste
- Prepare the Martini Glass Rim: Crush graham cracker in a resealable bag, or food processor, until it resembles sand. Stir in the pumpkin spice, cinnamon and sugar. Dip the rim of a martini glass into maple syrup, then roll the rim in the graham cracker mix. Set the glass aside.(Trick: Dip a thick napkin into the maple syrup and use the napkin to neatly apply the syrup to the rim of the glass.)
- Prepare the Martini: In a cocktail shaker, combine the ice with the vodka, rum, pumpkin, maple syrup and vanilla, along with the pumpkin spice if using. Shake vigorously until shaker chilled to the touch. Add in the cream and swirl or stir to combine.
- Serve: Strain and pour cocktail into the prepared martini glass. Garnish with cinnamon stick, dollop with whipped cream and sprinkle with pumpkin spice and/or nutmeg. Enjoy!
In the mood for something more refreshing?
4) Cranberry Apple Sangria
Cranberries and apples give this delicious sangria recipe tons of great fall flavors, mix up a pitcher to celebrate the holidays with friends and family. Oh yes!
- 1 orange, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup spiced rum
- 1500 ml red wine, 2 -750 ml bottles
- ¼ cup orange liqueur
- 1 cup cranberry juice
- 1 cup cranberries
- 1 cup red apples, diced
- 1 cup club soda, chilled
- Add the orange slices to the bottom of a large bowl or pitcher.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the oranges and muddle. (If you don’t have a muddler, the back of a spoon will work also!)
- Add the spiced rum, red wine, orange liqueur and cranberry juice.
- Stir to combine, then add the cranberries and red apples.
- Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour (preferably overnight).
- Add the club soda before serving.
- Serve in glasses filled with ice.
Saving the best for last...
5) Pumpkin Spice White Russian
This cocktail is exactly what you need to be sipping on this season. It brings the perfect pumpkin flavor to a classic White Russian with the addition of pumpkin spice creamer.
It’s so creamy, dreamy, and delicious - you might not want to share.
For the drink:
- 3 ounces (2 shot glasses) good quality vodka
- 3 ounces (2 shot glasses) pumpkin spice creamer
- 1.5 ounces (1 shot glass) Kahlua
- Whipped Cream and pumpkin pie spice for garnish
For the rim:
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon sugar or sparkling sugar
- 3 tablespoons crushed graham crackers
- Mix the ingredients for the rim together on a shallow plate. Dip the edge of two glasses in water and then dip into the graham mixture. Press to coat. Set the two glasses aside.
- Pour vodka, creamer, and kahlua into a large cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake lightly until combined and cold.
- Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice.
We hope these cocktails will allow you to stand (I mean, enjoy) time with your loved ones. 😉
Now get to mixin'!