With pumpkin season and Halloween behind us, we’re not quite ready to let go of all fall flavors. Luckily, there’s a whole new crop of cocktails on menus across the country, ripe with seasonal ingredients—like Concord grapes, pomegranate and apples—and using richer spirits to keep us warm.
1. Pomegranate Sangria
WHERE TO FIND IT:Underground Kitchen in Fernandina Beach, Florida
At chef Kenny Gilbert’s restaurant, the Sangria served takes its cue from the season. This fall, it’s made with rosé wine, pomegranate shrub, white wine and crème de cassis, shaken over ice, served in a Mason jar on the rocks and garnished with a Makrut lime leaf.
2. The North Branch Cider
WHERE TO FIND IT: The Bar Room at the North Branch Inn in North Branch, NY
Most of what comes out of The Bar Room in upstate New York is made with local ingredients—many of them coming from the nearby Catskills region. The North Branch Cider, a hot drink created by owner Sims Foster, is made with barrel-aged Catskills Provisions New York Honey Rye and St. George Smoked Pear Liqueur, plus hot apple cider. It’s a libation for the chilliest days of the month.
3. The Smashing Pumpkin
WHERE TO FIND IT: The Grant Grill, San Diego, California
All too seasonally appropriate, this pumpkin-rum cocktail is comprised of all the flavors of fall. The brainchild of bartender and sommelier Jeff Josehans, the drink combines pumpkin- and star anise–infused rum, Grand Marnier, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, saffron syrup, cardamom bitters and fresh Meyer lemon.
4. Good Evening
WHERE TO FIND IT: Rolf and Daughters in Nashville, Tennessee
A nod to a classic Pimm’s Cup, but with an autumnal bent, the Good Evening cocktail was created by bartender Bruce Rogers at Rolf and Daughters in Nashville. It’s a sweet, nutty cocktail with a deep ruby red hue, crafted from a mixture of Pimm’s, Mandorla almond liqueur, Saigon cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, soda water and Luxardo Sangue Morlacco cherry liqueur .
5. Trap Queen
WHERE TO FIND IT: Catch, New York City
Fetty Wap’s hit song, Trap Queen, inspired this cocktail, made with Bacardi 8, D’usse Cognac, orgeat syrup, lime and pineapple juice, a dash of Angostura bitters and a lot of mint. The drink is served over ice in a Julep cup. The dance floor awaits!
6. A Dilla
WHERE TO FIND IT: Lazy Bear, San Francisco, CA
At Lazy Bear in San Francisco’s Mission District, Bar Director Nicolas Torres developed the recipe for this sweet and creamy concoction that pays a homage to the late, great J Dilla, who left the ‘90s hip hop scene too early. The “A-Dilla” comprises housemade Aquavit, coconut milk, passion fruit, lemon, strawberry preserves and dill (hence the ‘dilla’).
7. Concord Grape
WHERE TO FIND IT: Vernick Food & Drink, Philadelphia, PA
At Greg Vernick’s Philadelphia hotspot in Rittenhouse Square, beverage manager J.B. Bernstein created a sweet, seasonal creation with grapes in mind, but sans wine. The Concord Grape is made with pisco, Batavia arrack, citrus and egg white, and is a frothy reminder that this season is about more flavors than pumpkin and spice.
8. Two Guns Miller
Image: Eric Medsker
WHERE TO FIND IT: Pouring Ribbons, New York City Inspired by a notable stop on America’s famous Route 66, the Two Guns Miller cocktail served at Pouring Ribbons in New York City’s East Village is named after Harry “Two Guns” Miller, who famously made his mark in the 1920’s by turning an Arizona town into a tourist trap, replete with zoo. The drink named after him is made with Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Giffard Pamplemousse, Sri Lankan cinnamon-infused Cabeza tequila, cane syrup and mole bitters.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Travelle (located in the Langham Hotel), Chicago, IL
Reminding us that fall is the right time to drink absinthe, this recipe from Priscilla Young, beverage director at Travelle in Chicago, is complex but the result is stunning. The Blutopia is made with Oxley gin, Cocchi Americano, white crème de cacao, lemon, sugar and Pernod Absinthe. The ingredients are combined in a rather involved method (best left to the pros) and the lovely final result is garnished with a single flower.
10. The Sugar Skull
WHERE TO FIND IT: 12th Ave Grill, Honolulu, Hawaii Way out west in Honolulu’s busy Kaimuki neighborhood, bar manager Ben Flores has introduced a fall-focused drink, The Sugar Skull, just in time for Día de Los Muertos. Made with Selvarey Cacao Rum, Ancho Reyes, Encanto Pisco and housemade Manoa chocolate mole bitters, the Skull is light, smoky and spicy, and pays homage to two of the Mexican holiday’s traditions: the colorful sugar skulls used for decoration and mole negro, a traditional holiday meal.
11. Who Wants to be a Milliner?
WHERE TO FIND IT: Hearth, New York City
New on Hearth’s fall cocktail menu is a punnily-named cocktail that deliciously heralds fall’s arrival. The “Who Wants to be a Milliner?” combines Rittenhouse Rye, Averell damson plum liqueur, Oloroso sherry, Maraschino and lavender. It’ll make you feel like a million bucks.