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17 Cocktails to Make This Fall Season

Our favorite drinks to get us in the Fall mood.

When summer turns to fall, the leaves begin to change, the weather gets a little chillier, and the signature autumn flavors begin to make an appearance. Once that time of year comes, no one is immune to enjoying a pumpkin spice latte or a hot cup of apple cider at least once. 

For cocktails, this often means hot drinks to keep you warm in the cooler weather and spices galore. Whatever your preference, there is a cocktail that is sure to suit your tastes this season. 

Read on to learn about the 17 best fall cocktails and try a few for yourself!

Best Fall Cocktails

  1. Hot Toddy with Charred Oranges
  2. Spicy Apple Cider Margarita
  3. Irish Hot Chocolate
  4. Pomegranate French 75
  5. Mezcal Negroni
  6. Pumpkin Spice White Russian
  7. Spiced Mexican Hot Chocolate
  8. Cranberry Gin Fizz
  9. Apple Peel Bourbon Ginger Shake-Up
  10. Old Fashioned
  11. Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour
  12. Autumn Fig Sangria
  13. Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour
  14. Orange-Thyme Old-Fashioned
  15. Sparkling Pear & Orange Champagne Punch
  16. Mulled Wine Sparkler
  17. Whiskey & Apple Cider Syrup

Hot Toddy with Charred Oranges

A hot toddy is a classic whiskey recipe that is meant to be enjoyed, as the name implies, hot. A standard hot toddy can be made with only four ingredients: hot water, bourbon whiskey, honey, and lemon.

For this variation, you can choose to spice it up a bit more by adding thyme, cinnamon sticks, and star anise in addition to the bourbon, honey, water, and lemon juice. The final ingredient to set this recipe apart is the charred oranges. Top your steaming beverage with a slice of orange grilled to a light char from the grill or oven and enjoy the element of smoky citrus flavor.


Spicy Apple Cider Margarita

Apple cider is a tried and true fall staple. Nothing truly rings in the season like a glass of fresh cider, served hot or cold. If you are still coming off of summertime craving a margarita for the fall, try combining the two!

Take the standard ingredients to a margarita: tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup, and add cinnamon and apple cider. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to get a little kick of spice. For this recipe you can choose to either shake the ingredients and pour over ice or blend to drink frozen. Sweeten the deal by adding cinnamon sugar to the glass rim.


Irish Hot Chocolate

When it comes to cold-weather drinks, hot chocolate is about as nostalgic as they come. Of course as we get older, we have the added benefit of enjoying it a different way— with a splash of whiskey.

You can choose to use a premade hot chocolate packet that you just add water to if you wish, but for a richer flavor you will want to make the hot chocolate from scratch as well. Combine unsweetened cocoa powder, brown sugar, chocolate, salt, vanilla, and milk in a saucepan overheat. Add in your whiskey once the rest of the ingredients are fully combined and brought to a simmer. Finish with whipped cream topping.


Pomegranate French 75

The French 75 gets its namesake from the guns used by the French in World War I, and is made using gin and Champagne. This pomegranate variation adds a bit of fruity freshness to the sparkling beverage. 

To make this drink, combine your choice of gin, pomegranate juice, and simple syrup. For a bit of extra zest, you can add lemon juice as well. Shake the ingredients with ice and top with Champagne in a Champagne flute glass. Garnish with pomegranate seeds for the perfect pink drink for fall brunch or pre-dinner drinks.


Mezcal Negroni

A Negroni is a well-known drink that only contains three ingredients: gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. For this version, mezcal is the dominant liquor. Mezcal is a spirit derived from agave and has a delicious smoky flavor, and is a great substitution for this beverage to bring out that fall campfire feeling.

The mezcal Negroni is just as simple to make, with the Campari and sweet vermouth remaining intact while the gin is replaced with mezcal. Garnish this drink with a twist of orange peel or a half-wheel on the rim of the glass and enjoy over ice.


Pumpkin Spice White Russian

What is fall without a little pumpkin spice? If you are a fan of the pumpkin spice latte or pumpkin drinks in general, you will surely enjoy this creamy pumpkin spice version of a white Russian. The White Russian is the famous drink the Dude orders in the film, “The Big Lebowski,” and is composed of vodka, Kahlua, and heavy cream.

For this version, the main components stay nearly the same: vodka, Kahlua, and heavy cream. However, to make it pumpkin spice, you will want to use pumpkin spice creamer instead of regular heavy cream. Serve it over ice with a bit of whipped cream and a dash of pumpkin spice for a sweet treat.


Spiced Mexican Hot Chocolate

For a kicked-up version of the hot chocolate you know and love, try spiced Mexican hot chocolate. The difference that sets Mexican hot chocolate apart from a standard cup of hot cocoa is the spice. Typically chili powder or cayenne pepper adds a spicy spin on the classic drink, but sometimes it is just cinnamon.

Spiced Mexican hot chocolate requires whole milk, half and half, dulce de Lethe, cinnamon sticks, 70% dark chocolate, pure vanilla extract, kosher salt, and bourbon. Chopped chocolate gets added to a mixture of the milk, half and half, dulce de leche, and cinnamon that has been combined in a saucepan overheat. Once the chocolate has combined, the vanilla extract, a dash of salt, and bourbon is added. Serve in your favorite mug with a generous dollop of whipped cream. 


Cranberry Gin Fizz

A cranberry gin fizz will have you thinking about Thanksgiving all season long. A classic gin fizz is uniquely in that it has egg white in it, which gives it the signature foamy finish.

The cranberry gin fizz nixes the egg and uses a big spoonful of cranberry sauce to go with the rest of the ingredients, which include gin, club soda, and ice for shaking. Combine the gin and cranberry sauce in the shaker, strain over ice, and top with club soda. Add a sprig of rosemary as garnish if desired. This simple drink can be made advanced by opting for a cranberry syrup instead. Fresh lemon juice is also optional.


Apple Peel Bourbon Ginger Shake-Up

Apple peel bourbon is what you get when you bottle bourbon with apple peels, cinnamon sticks, and cloves and leave it to infuse for a few days. The result is a tasty spiced apple-flavored bourbon perfect for making a delicious apple peel bourbon ginger shake-up.

This drink combines your apple peel bourbon with triple sec, lemon juice, Angostura bitters, and orange bitters. Shake the ingredients with ice and pour into your glass of choice. Top the mixture with your favorite brand of ginger beer and a twist of lemon as garnish.


Old Fashioned

An Old Fashioned is about as classic as they get. This is a drink you can find on nearly any cocktail menu at any bar, and is particularly refreshing as the cool fall weather begins to come into play. 

Although you can choose to make your Old Fashioned with many dark liquors, bourbon is the popular choice. This drink is made by stirring a bit of sugar with Angostura bitters in a glass with water until the sugar is dissolved. Add a large ice cube or two and the bourbon and continue to stir until combined. Run an orange peel around the rim of your glass and add to the glass as garnish. 


Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour

A bourbon sour is the tasty combination of bourbon and lemon juice to make a tangy, slightly bitter drink. The rosemary maple bourbon sour adds a taste of the season to the mix for a truly essential fall cocktail.

This cocktail uses bourbon, lemon juice, maple syrup, and crushed rosemary. All ingredients are added to a shaker and then strained over a single large ice cube in a glass. Garnish with a rosemary sprig. The maple and rosemary add to the original tart beverage to round out the flavors and bring you an overall delicious concoction.


Autumn Fig Sangria

Sangria is a beverage that originated in Spain and Portugal. It is typically red wine combined with simple syrup, fresh fruit, sparkling water, and fruit juice to be served chilled. Some variations use white wine instead of red.

For a fall spin on this drink, the autumn fig sangria uses orange, red apple, pear, and figs as the fruit. Dry white or fruit-forward red wine works well for this recipe. Combine the wine and fruit with apple cider, apple brandy, orange liqueur, and cinnamon sticks. Let sit in the fridge for several hours to infuse before serving.


Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour

A whiskey sour, like a bourbon sour, mixes the liquor of choice with lemon juice, and occasionally egg white for foam. Unlike its bourbon counterpart, this fall cocktail uses warm spice instead of aromatic herbs.

Combine whiskey, lemon juice, maple syrup, and a bit of ground cinnamon and shake with ice. Strain into a glass and add a cinnamon stick as garnish if you wish. Just like that, you have a cinnamon maple whiskey sour. The swap of maple syrup for simple syrup adds a bit more dimension to the beverage while the cinnamon brings a bit of spice to the palate. 


Orange-Thyme Old-Fashioned

We have already covered why an Old Fashioned is an iconic fall beverage, but have you ever considered trying it with thyme? You may be familiar with thyme as an ingredient used to season chicken or to flavor a stew, but it is actually a very versatile herb that goes great in a cocktail as well.

The key to this drink is in the thyme syrup. You can make your thyme syrup by simply infusing the syrup with a few sprigs of thyme. To make the orange-thyme Old Fashioned, stir together your whiskey, thyme syrup, and orange bitters with a few ice cubes in your glass. Stir until the glass is chilled and run the peel of the orange around the rim to release the oils. Add the peel to the drink and enjoy.


Sparkling Pear & Orange Champagne Punch

Nothing quite quenches thirst like a fresh fruit punch at a party. This punch uses the flavors of popular fall fruits pear and orange to sweeten the brew.

This low-maintenance cocktail required just a few ingredients. Combine chilled sparkling wine or Champagne with pear nectar, orange bitters, and ice in a large punch bowl. Stir until combined and serve with orange zest for garnish. If you worry the ice will dilute the drink, try adding frozen chunks of pear and orange to the punch to keep it chilled. The fruit will soak up the alcohol as they thaw as a bonus! 


Mulled Wine Sparkler

Fall marks the time of year when you start to see packets of mulling spices being sold at the grocery store. The classic use of these spices is to boil them with red wine to infuse the spice and provide for a hot cocktail with warm flavors.

Mulled wine sparklers take that same concept of mulled wine, but add a bit of fizz to the mix. For this beverage, you must create a mulled wine syrup by boiling the mulled spice mix with water, stirring in sugar at a simmer, and then adding red wine once the sugar has dissolved. Once you get a thick consistency your syrup is ready. Before use, strain and chill the syrup. When it’s cool enough, add some to a glass and top with chilled sparkling wine and a lemon twist.


Whiskey & Apple Cider Syrup

This drink is the perfect marriage between whiskey and apple cider you didn’t know you needed. In its simplest form, you will only need two ingredients for this cocktail, but feel free to garnish as well.

A whiskey and apple cider syrup is made with, just as the name suggests, rye whiskey and apple cider syrup. To make the apple cider syrup, bring your cider to a simmer in a pot until it reduces to a syrup consistency. Be sure to strain and chill the syrup before beginning the cocktail. Combine with whiskey over ice and stir until chilled. For added flair, add orange zest and a cinnamon stick for garnish. If you have any leftover syrup, it makes for a tasty substitute for maple syrup.


Final Thoughts

There is nothing quite like the taste of fall. Whether you like your fall cocktails hot or cold, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Take a classic recipe and add a bit of spice, or try something unique tailored to the season. There are so many fun drink options to experiment with and grasp that wonderful flavor of fall. 

Lovers of this season and the flavors that come along with it are sure to be impressed with our 17 best fall cocktails.

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Written by Erin B.

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.