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Falling Leaves

Falling Leaves cocktail
Image: / Tim Nusog

Whether the leaves are falling outside your window or you just want a comforting, fall-tinged drink, Audrey Saunders has you covered with her Falling Leaves cocktail.

Saunders, the influential New York bartender behind the iconic Pegu Club bar, begins with dry riesling from Alsace, a region on the border of France and Germany that’s known for its white wines. That low-ABV base is kicked up a notch by pear eau-de-vie, which is simply a clear brandy distilled from pears.

The one-two punch of wine and pear liquor gives the drink a fruity and floral character. To complement those components, Saunders adds zesty orange curaçao and rich honey syrup, plus five dashes of Peychaud’s bitters, which lend their trademark gentian and licorice notes to the mix. A star anise pod garnish enhances the aromas and further channels fall.

To enjoy the full effects of this autumnal drink, put on a cozy sweater and shake one up as the leaves begin to change colors and litter the ground. That act won’t change the flavor any, but it should put you in the right mood for each flavorful sip.


  • 2 ounces dry Alsatian riesling

  • 1 ounce Poire William eau-de-vie (or other pear brandy)

  • 1/2 ounce orange curaçao

  • 1/4 ounce honey syrup

  • 5 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

  • Garnish: star anise pod


  1. Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a coupe glass.

  3. Garnish with a star anise pod.