30 Days of Fall Drinking
Hard Cider Sangria
Are you bummed that the summer days of sangria sipping are over? We have just the thing to cheer you up. Get in the mood for fall with this refreshing autumn sangria. Instead of wine, this juicy sangria is made with hard cider spiked with lemon juice and apple brandy. It can be made in big batches, so it's perfect for fall entertaining.
Although French in name, this cocktail was designed to highlight Germain-Robin, a brandy distilled in California using high-quality wine grapes. If you can't get your hands on that, another VSOP brandy will do the trick. The addition of Maple syrup and allspice liqueur give this simple drink a pronounced autumnal flavor that you will love all season long.
Apple Cider-Ginger Shrub
Pomme Pomme Squad
"Calvados is having its moment in cocktails, and thank goodness it is!" says Jessica Sanders about the rich apple brandy. The co-owner of Drink.Well and Backbeat in Austin modeled this Sazerac variation on her favorite apple pie recipe. "This drink has all the elements of that incredible pie in liquid form," she says.
Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest
One of our favorite fall traditions is the Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest beer. Each year, the Northern California brewing company partners with a different German brewer to create a fall beer fit for the country's annual festival. This year, Brauhaus Miltenberger is the chosen collaborator and together they have created a traditional, deep golden Oktoberfest beer that has a rich malt flavor.
Ginger's Lost Island
Hot Mulled Cider
Old cocktail books are filled with beer concoctions and for good reason. Here, we mix a lambic with apple vodka and a Scotch-based maple-flavored liqueur for a strong, apple-forward drink.
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
If you are wary of pumpkin beers, that’s understandable. Not all pumpkin beers can be trusted, but this one can. Dogfish Head has been brewing its seasonal Punkin Ale for over 20 years with pumpkin meat, brown sugar and spices. The result is a full-bodied brown ale that is a perfect football-watching, leaf-raking beer.
Fennel & Fig Infused Vodka
This savory seasonal infusion takes advantage of Blue Hill at Stone Barns' homegrown produce, but if you can’t make it to Tarrytown, you can work with tyour own fruits and vegetables. The magic of this autumnal drink is that it's just four simple ingredients and two of them are figs (fresh and dried).
This creamy, spiced drink honors an Irish Halloween bread called barm brack, which contains currants and raisins. Traditionally, various objects—a coin, a ring, a pea—were baked inside the loaf as a kind of fortune-telling game. All we know is that your future self will be very happy if you mix up one of these.
Founders Brewing Co. Harvest Ale
While Founders Brewing Co. Harvest Ale doesn't evoke fall with the obvious flavors of apple or pumpkin, it's a true testament to the season and it's bounty. That's because fall is hop season and Founders takes advantage of this by using thousands of pounds of just-picked, wet hop cones to create this bright, piney, citrusy IPA.
The Doubting Duck
Washington, DC, bartender Derek Brown calls The Doubting Duck his ideal aperitif because while it's low-proof, it's also amazingly complex. He loves the manzanilla sherry's savory edge, which makes the drink food-friendly. It's also easy to mix, just make sure your bar cart is stocked with both celery and orange bitters.
Pear of Desire
Spiced Pumpkin Lassi
When the air gets crisper, the beers get a bit heavier. And if you’re making that turn in your seasonal drinking, the porter from Anchor, America’s oldest craft brewery, is a good place to start. Smooth, malty, but not too sweet, a bottle makes a good companion for sitting on the porch in a sweater.
Mulled Red Wine with Muscovado Sugar
Whether you want to accept it or not, cold season is upon us. Luckily, we have a cocktail to help with that. At the time she was preparing her bar menu, mixologist Molly Finnegan felt under the weather and uninspired. After a 2 a.m. brainstorming session, this sensational hot toddy improved both her cold and her drink list.
Surly Brewing Co. SurlyFest
Another reliable Oktoberfest beer, Surly Brewing Co.'s SurlyFest is a dry-hopped rye lager that is far less malty than the traditional. This particular beer is so beloved that Surly hosts an annual festival at its Minneapolis brewery in its honor and this is the tenth year! We think that calls for a Prost!
Apple-Brandy Hot Toddies
To give this tequila smash an autumnal feel, bar manager Devlin DeVore adds apple juice ("apple" is manzana in Spanish) and cinnamon.
At your next dinner party, consider serving your guests a warming, hot punch to celebrate the newly chilly weather. For hot punches, young Irish whiskeys work best. Heat intensifies the tannic edge of older whiskeys; young ones stay smooth. Here, nutmeg and clove make this punch especially festive and seasonal.
In Cold Blood
After a whole month of seasonal drinking, you might be need a break. That's why we're hitting you with a non-alcoholic cocktail at the very end. If your tolerance is higher than we thought, this warm drink can be easily spiked with aged rum or whisky. Here, we garnish our wassail with thin slices of orange, but a dusting of ground cinnamon or a thin slice of apple would be delicious too.