Fall Cocktails: Fill Your Glass Full of Seasonal Flavor
Let's be honest: Anybody with a wallet and a few fingers can buy some pumpkin-flavored beer and say they're set for the season. But if you want to get creative about celebrating the flavors of fall with hand-harvested ingredients, we've got all the right recipes. Ready to rim that glass with graham cracker crumbs? We thought so.
Honeycrisp Apple Cocktail
Gotham Bar and Grill—New York, New York
Leave it to one of the best restaurants in the Big Apple to have a great cocktail recipe featuring the forbidden fruit. "As with our menu, we like to highlight the best ingredients in our cocktail program," says beverage director Eric Zillier. "This drink brings together house-infused Honeycrisp vodka and spiced syrup for the epitome of a seasonal cocktail."
- 1 1/2 oz. apple-infused vodka (recipe follows)
- 1/2 oz. spiced syrup (recipe follows)
- 1/2 oz. lemon juice
- .35 oz. Calvados Busnel
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until cold. Strain into a martini glass and serve.
- 3 Honeycrisp apples
- Sugar, as needed
- 1 bottle vodka
Core and slice the apples, toss them in sugar and add a bottle of vodka. Seal and let sit for 2 to 3 days, then strain.
- Water, as needed
- Sugar, as needed
- 1 star anise
- 1 nutmeg
- 7 cloves
- 2 pieces cinnamon
Mix equal parts sugar and water with the rest of the ingredients; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain before using.
Though many might argue that bourbon is fine all by itself, the pecan-infused bourbon in this drink "tastes just like a traditional sweet pecan pie with a kick," says bar manager Julie Campbell.
- 2 oz. pecan-infused Kentucky bourbon (recipe follows)
- Dash chocolate bitters
- Dash cinnamon
- 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
Shake all ingredients. Serve over ice and garnish with an orange peel.
- 3 cups pecans
- 1 liter bourbon
Combine pecans in a jar with the bourbon and let infuse for 4 to 5 days. Pour through a strainer when ready to serve to avoid any little pecan pieces in your drink.
Buttermilk Falls Inn + Spa—Milton, New York
After filling guests full of turkey and all the trimmings, the folks at Buttermilk Falls found themselves with a lot of pumpkin pie on their hands. "I kiddingly said we should make smoothies out of them for breakfast and that inspired a bartender to make this cocktail," says owner Robert Pollock. "People get a big kick out of the idea of a leftover sweet being repurposed."
- 2 oz. spiced rum
- 1/2 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 slice pumpkin pie
- 2 ice cubes
Scoop filling out of crust and set crust aside. Place all items in a blender and puree until smooth. Place a Tom Collins tumbler rim down on the removed crust and twist so some of the crust sticks to the rim. If it's not a graham cracker crust, rim the glass with graham cracker crumbs. Pour pumpkin mixture into glass and serve.
Del Frisco's—New York, New York
There are plenty of things you can do with fig jam: Spread it on toast, make it into a sauce or put it in a cocktail along with some scotch. "The housemade fig jam and fresh apple juice with the scotch works so well together," says Scott Gould, general manager of the New York location of Del Frisco's. This is available at all Del Frisco's locations nationwide through the end of October, or anytime in your kitchen.
- 1/2 oz. Glenfiddich 12 Yr
- 1/2 oz. Root liqueur
- 2 oz. lemon sour soda
- 2 oz. fig jam
- 1/2 oz. apple juice
- 1/2 oz. egg whites (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake until fig jam is dissolved. Strain with a julep strainer over fresh ice into a bucket glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel or fresh fig.
Hot Butter Rum
Henrietta's Table, The Charles Hotel—Cambridge, Massachusetts
Here's an interesting way to work pumpkin into a fall cocktail: put it in the whipped cream. "What says fall better than pumpkin?" says restaurant manager Liam Coughlin. "Our version of hot butter rum is a soothing cocktail for those cool, crisp nights."
- 1 1/2 oz. Sailor Jerry spiced rum
- 1 teaspoon Hot Butter Rum mix (recipe follows)
- Hot water, as needed
- Dollop of roasted pumpkin whipped cream (recipe follows)
Put the Hot Butter Rum mix and the rum in a mug. Fill with hot water and top with the whipped cream.
Hot Butter Rum Mix
Yield: approximately 2 cups
- 1 pound brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 pound Vermont butter, softened
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate overnight. Refrigerate leftovers to preserve.
Roasted Pumpkin Whipped Cream
- 1/2 quart heavy cream
- 1 sugar pumpkin
- 2 teaspoons maple sugar
Cut the sugar pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, place the pumpkin face up and cook until the flesh of the pumpkin is brown and the meat is soft. Cool, scoop and puree half the pumpkin in a food processor and let cool to room temperature. In a large mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream while adding the maple sugar. When the cream becomes solid, slowly fold the pureed pumpkin in. Refrigerate to preserve.
Crave Fishbar—New York, New York
When mixologist and general manager Jason Steinthal saw crabapples come through the door and head to the kitchen, he knew he needed to snag some for the bar. "Manhattans are full of fall flavors, then we drive it home with the apple cider, " he says. "The dehydrated crabapple garnish is a unique touch from the kitchen."
- 1.5 oz. Rittenhouse rye
- 1.5 oz. apple cider
- .5 oz. Averna Amaro
- .5 oz. sweet vermouth
- .25 oz. lemon juice
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir all with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.
Quarter crab apples and remove seeds. Place flesh side down on a Silpat and cook at 200 degrees for 4 to 6 hours. Save the leftovers for snacks or for future garnishes.
Rosa Mexicana—South Beach, Florida
Pumpkin beer and tequila might sound like a strange brew, but it's a hot way to showcase a cold beverage. "The ale blends well with the woody vanilla notes in the Herradura," says beverage director Brook Vandecar. "It's balanced by the apple syrup we make in-house with fresh apples."
- 12 oz. pumpkin ale
- .75 oz. Herradura Reposado
- .75 oz. apple syrup (recipe follows)
- .25 oz. lemon juice, fresh
- 2 sage leaves
Lightly muddle sage in the bottom of a shaker tin with the apple syrup. Add lemon juice, tequila, ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into a michelada glass, top with the pumpkin ale and ice and serve with a soda straw.
- 6 red apples
- 4 cups turbinado sugar
- 4 cups water
Core the apples, blend them with water in a blender or Vitamix and strain through a fine strainer. Place in a pan with the sugar and boil until reduced by half. Strain again. Will keep in a cooler for 3 weeks.
Mexican Hot Chocolate with Mezcal Whipped Cream
Hill Country Barbecue Market—New York, New York
When the first ingredient in a drink is cocoa tequila, you know you're in for an interesting experience. "Mexican hot chocolate is a grown-up Texas version of boring Swiss Miss," says beverage director Laura Cruz. "Ancho, tequila and mezcal introduce an adult characteristic to this childhood favorite."
- 1 1/2 oz. cocoa tequila
- Hot chocolate (recipe follows)
- Mezcal whipped cream (recipe follows)
Put tequila in a double rocks glass, fill with hot chocolate and top with mezcal whipped cream.
- 225 grams bittersweet chocolate
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup half and half
- Pinch salt
- 3/4 tsp. vanilla
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine ingredients and heat through.
Mezcal Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
- 1 tablespoon mezcal
Whisk all ingredients until still peaks form.