Spicy and Warm: Inspired Fall Cocktails, Influenced by the Season

Blood Orange Margarita photo credit:  Sarah Prikryl

Blood Orange Margarita photo credit: Sarah Prikryl

The weather’s turning cooler while the days are getting shorter. 

The offerings from the farmer’s market or CSA evolve from the hot weather-loving fruits and vegetables to the more crisp offerings of fall — think leeks, potatoes, pears and above all, apples. 

Going beyond what you’re going to eat, what you’re going to drink also changes with the season. Gone is your desire for refreshing summer-y drinks — your palate is looking for something more substantial, perhaps something more spicy that can warm you up from the inside. There are a million opportunities to take classic ideas and put a twist on them with seasonal ingredients. And the change of colors happening outside is an inspiration to what should be happening in your glass, turning to deep, dark jewel tones. 

 We love the flavors and colors of the West Indies (Kathleen served as an executive chef there in her 20s) — they also remind us of happy times spent there for the holidays. The top of our list for fall cocktails is a Sorrel Rum Punch. It’s a very Caribbean drink with its spices and its gorgeous hibiscus color. We love the ginger and cloves — it’s truly warming.  

Everyone thinks pumpkin spice drinks when they think fall, but there’s nothing worse to us than a heavy drink with whipped cream on it. We’ve found a way to create an elegant and really flavorful pumpkin-centric drink. 

 Infuse vodka with thinly sliced pumpkin or squash. Over time, the fruit will lend a flavorful vegetal taste that’s not cloying or sweet, but interesting. It’s a more sophisticated way to experience that flavor. Combine this vodka with spiced simple syrup and then add a splash of a clear liqueur — perhaps Saint Germain if you want to add a floral flavor or a fine Italian hazelnut liqueur for a hint of a nutty flavor. 

It’s hard to understand what that flavor is until you taste it, but it invokes the concept of pumpkin spice in an elevated way without all the heaviness. This clear, beautiful martini has much more than meets the eye.

Consider unusual and festive glassware for your cocktails this season. You can create an added element of gorgeous to whatever you are pouring with unique glassware.

Mulled Wine can be heavy, so we’ve experimented with the flavors associated with this drink to create a Mulled Wine Elixir. We make a simple syrup using mulling spices. Once it’s done, it’s a shiny, viscous wine-colored syrup that brings a lot of flavor and spice. Combine that with spiced rum or vodka over ice and top it off with prosecco or sparkling wine for some effervescence. If you want to go super authentic, top it off with a great dry Lambrusco, which is the same color as the simple syrup. Garnish with an orange peel. It’s a great drink and more refreshing and a lot lighter than drinking traditional mulled wine. ***Recipe below.

We love blood oranges and they come into season in December, so we love to make Blood Orange Margaritas, by adding the tart juice to our regular margarita recipe. The color of the orange and the drink is so beautiful. Or if Champagne is your thing… Add a few Pomegranate seeds soaked in bitters to your Champagne for a twist on the classic champagne cocktail.

Finally, the fall cocktail collection would not be complete without incorporating gorgeous in-season apples into a drink. We love fresh-pressed apple cider, you can even make it at home! We make a cocktail that combines cider with spiced rum and hard cider. The effervescence of the hard cider with the warm spices from the rum and then the brightness comes from the tart, fresh-pressed apple flavor is fresh and delicious. We take our bar service seriously around here and we love what every new season has to offer, its an opportunity to create. We love fall and a perfect cocktail along with a perfect season is worth celebrating.

 

Let’s all raise a glass to fall. 

Mulled Wine Syrup

  • cups apple cider 

  • btl red wine

  • ¼ cup honey

  • 2 each cinnamon stick

  • 3 each orange, juice of

  • each orange, zest of

  • each cloves

  • each staranise

  • qt simple syrup

1.red mulled wine: combine all ingredients together in pot and bring to a simmer.
Reduce by 2/3.
Mix simple syrup into the red mulled wine

2.simple syrup: combine 6 cup of water and 6 cup of sugar and bring to a boil
reduce syrup down to 1 quart 
cool