Autumn / Fall Cocktails

Words by Simon Difford

Photography by Dan Malpass

Autumn / Fall Cocktails image 1

Summer is fading, leaves are starting to scatter the ground and the weather is turning noticeably chillier. It's not yet time for full-on winter warmers, but crushed ice charged summer coolers are obviously no longer in season. It's autumn/fall, so a time to appreciate those last few warm(ish) sunny days whilst sipping on an appropriate cocktail.

Here in Blighty it's autumn, hence these seasonal cocktails are 'autumnal'. However, in North America it's fall, so does that make these cocktails 'fallmal' or 'fallish'? No matter, it is a time to enjoy brownish coloured cocktails which at any other time of year could be considered drab.

It's harvest time so there's a bounty of ingredients, with cocktails tending to focus on the seasonally available fruit: apples, blackberries, pears and plums. (It's also sloe berry season - time to make sloe gin.)

Perhaps with a view to stocking larders (or pantries if you will), autumn cocktails often use maple syrup, honey and demerara sugar as their sweetener.

When it comes to base spirits, perhaps inspired by the colours of the leaves, brown spirits seem preferred - particularly whisk(e)y, calvados (apples again!) and cognac - are favoured.

Our 30 autumnal cocktail suggestions

ency 80 image

Amber
With: Ginger, bison vodka, apple juice, apple schnapps and sugar syrup.
We say: Long and thirst quenching but also good served straight-up.
ency 47 image

Autumn Leaves
With: Whiskey, apple brandy, vermouth and herbal liqueur.
We say: A delightful apple, whiskey, vermouth and herbal combination.

ency 52 image

Autumn Cocktail
With: Passion fruit, bison vodka, pear juice, passion fruit syrup, lemon juice and champagne.
We say: Suitably autumnal in colour with passion fruit, lemon and pear enlivened by champagne.

ency 66 image

Caramel Manhattan
With: Bourbon, caramel liqueur, sweet vermouth, pineapple juice and Peychaud's Bitters.
We say: Bourbon's character shines through in this soothing, mellow cocktail.

ency 46 image

Death Flip
With: Blanco tequila, Jägermeister, Yellow Chartreuse, sugar syrup, egg and nutmeg.
We say: Herbal, rich and creamy.

ency 17 image

Detroit Athletic Club
With: Irish whiskey, a splash of sweet vermouth, clove rich falernum and monastic liqueur.
We say: A perfectly balanced cocktail inspired by the sport club.

ency 51 image

Doctor No.1
With: Aged rum, Swedish punch and lime juice.
We say: Basically, a Swedish Daiquiri - tasty.

ency 27 image

Dr. Rieux
With: Calvados, white rum, Swedish punsch, orange Curacao, demerara syrup and lemon juice.
We say: A full-bodied blend with very appealing underlying flavours.

ency 93 image

Fallen Leaves
With: Calvados, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth and cognac.
We say: An autumnal blend of vermouth and brandies.

ency 15 image

Harvest Cocktail
With: Calvados, vermouth amaro and Angostura Bitters.
We say: A spiced apple brandy short boozy cocktail.

ency 75 image

Harvest Moon (PDT's recipe)
With: Rye whiskey, Lillet Blanc, calvados, Green Chartreuse and Bob's Bitters.
We say: A stirred down boozy after-dinner sipper.

ency 49 image

Honey Badger
With: Rosemary sprig, bourbon, Yellow Chartreuse, ginger syrup, honey syrup, lemon juice and lemon bitters.
We say: Named after the animal that looks more like a polecat than a badger.

ency 75 image

Iron Negroni
With: Dry gin, Ferro China and sweet vermouth.
We say: A negroni with a somewhat added smoothness, this punchy blend is a simple cocktail to be easily enjoyed.

ency 100 image

KIR
With: Bone dry white wine and crème de cassis.
We say: The blackcurrants used to make crème de cassis were harvested back in summer so this aperitif is perfect for those rare balmy autumn evenings.

ency 63 image

New York Sour
With: Bourbon, lemon juice, sugar syrup, Angostura Bitters, egg white and red wine.
We say: Best enjoyed whilst sat in Central Park but thought to have originated in Chicago.

ency 44 image

Peat's Dragon
With: Scotch, Speyside single malt scotch, Grand Marnier, Lillet Blanc, dry vermouth and black pepper.
We say: A dry and aromatic flavour enlivened by subtle black pepper notes, best enjoyed as an aperitif to spark late night autumn chatter.

ency 57 image

Perfectly Paired Cocktail
With: Pear puree, cachaça, vanilla liqueur and champagne.
We say: Orchard fruit with spiced vanilla, grassy cachaça and invigorating fizz.

ency 57 image

Petanque Cocktail
With: Fino sherry, amaretto, Peychaud's Bitters and absinthe.
We say: Named after the French game but with Spanish and Italian ingredients. Why here? It's the colour of autumn leaves.

ency 15 image

Polish Martini
With: Vodka, honey liqueur and apple juice.
We say: Dick Bradsell created this drink for his father-in-law and it's apple notes make it perfect for autumn.

ency 35 image

Polish Pear Martini
With: Vodka, Bison grass vodka, spiced pear liqueur and pear juice.
We say: A riff on Dick Bradsell's brilliantly simple Polish Martini but with a pear fruitiness also ideal as an autumn cocktail.

ency 14 image

Port Old-Fashioned
With: Bourbon, tawny port, maple syrup, Angostura Bitters.
We say: A riff on an old-fashioned both tasty and balanced.

ency 98 image

Rusty Peach Cocktail
With: Dry gin, Ferro China, peach liqueur and peach bitters.
We say: A dark, delicately bittersweet and light in alcohol aperitif cocktail.
Rusty Peach Cocktail recipe

ency 98 image

Sake Manhattan
With: Sake, bourbon, sweet vermouth, maraschino, cherry brandy, Angostura Bitters and Peychaud's Bitters.
We say: A Manhattan is a great drink any time of year, this one is served with sake complexity.

ency 55 image

Sandy The Showgirl
With: Añejo tequila, mezcal, maraschino, agave syrup and lavender bitters.
We say: A hint of mezcal makes Sandy a somewhat smoky Showgirl.

ency 40 image

Smokestack Lightning
With: Reposado tequila, Islay single malt, agave syrup and lime juice.
We say: It's a time of year for clearing gardens and having bonfires so a smoky Margarita seems appropriate.

ency 15 image

Tatanka Cocktail
With: Bison vodka, apple juice, lime juice
We say: Tatanka is a Native American word for buffalo and refers to the Bison grass flavoured vodka the cocktail is based on - can be equally served straight-up, is a simply and very delicious drink.

ency 31 image

Thyme For
With: Thyme, cognac, orange liqueur, sweet vermouth, brown sugar, Peychaud's Bitters, Angostura Bitters.
We say: Aromatic thyme subtly influences this spirituous autumnal cocktail.

ency 80 image

Thyme Will Tell Sour
With: Thyme, bourbon, maple syrup and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
We say: This well-balanced blend has the right level of sweetness and tasty citrusy underlying notes.

ency 100 image

Velvet Revolver
With: Strawberry conserve, Hennessy VSOP, pinot noir, lemon juice, sugar syrup and Angostura Bitters.
We say: Short and boozy, this appetising blend has the perfect subtle fruity flavour which will have you sipping all through autumn.

ency 20 image

The Windfall
With: Freya Birch Spirit, 10 yo armagnac and pressed apple juice.
We say: With faint pine and smoky notes, this cocktail is complex and very delectable.

More autumn/fall cocktails here.