Cocktail & Other Recipes Occasion Fall

11 Essential Cocktails for Your October Parties

Pumpkin and spice and everything nice.

Pumpkin Toddy
Pumpkin Toddy Image: / Tim Nusog

With the autumnal flavors of pumpkin, apple and other fall fruits starring in a range of drinks, from light and refreshing to decidedly spirit-forward, we’ve rounded up 11 cocktails to suit just about any October pursuit, from apple picking to pumpkin carving to merely curling up in front of a fireplace with a good book.

  • Spiced Pumpkin Flip

    Spiced Pumpkin Flip / Tim Nusog

    Bring the classic flip into fall with Naren Young’s seasonal spin. Two kinds of pumpkin, in the forms of both beer and butter, bring on layers of flavor that are perfectly complemented with bourbon and amaretto. An egg white adds froth, while grated nutmeg tops it all off.

    Get the recipe.

  • Two-Hit Fig Punch

    Two-Hit Fig Punch / Tim Nusog

    Make the most of the end of fig season with this punch. Muddled fresh figs are a sweet companion to orange lemon juices, while spiced rum and bourbon balance it all out with their deeply complex flavors. Serve it all in a punch bowl with a large block of ice, plus lime wheels and fresh nutmeg for serving.

    Get the recipe.

  • Concord Grape Margarita

    Concord Grape Margarita / Tim Nusog

    The sweetness and dry finish of Concord grapes make them ideal for using in cocktails. Case in point: this new take on a Margarita. Blanco tequila provides a clean and smooth base for fresh Concord grape and lemon juices, and a barspoon of Concord grape jelly adds concentrated fruit flavor and a slight touch of sweetness. Serve in a smoked-salt-rimmed glass and enjoy your new favorite Marg. 

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  • Tender Knob

    Tender Knob

    H. Joseph Ehrmann

    Nothing says “October” quite like the flavors of apple, bourbon and cinnamon, and this cocktail has it all. Muddle an apple slice to release its crisp fall flavor, then shake with bourbon, hard apple cider, agave, cinnamon and ice until slightly frothy and chilled. Strain and enjoy.

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    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • Flannel


    As the days cool down, reach for your flannel, both from your closet and from your bar. This cozy recipe is served cold but will warm you up as soon as you start to sip. Plus, it’s easy to make: Just shake cognac, apple cider syrup, allspice dram and orange juice, then strain and garnish with an orange peel. 

    Get the recipe.

  • Amaretto Sour

    Amaretto Sour / Tim Nusog

    Don’t let your preconceived notions about this classic steer you away. Bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s version keeps everything from being overly sweet. Amaretto stars (of course) alongside bourbon, fresh lemon juice, rich simple syrup and an egg white. Shake until it’s all frothy, sweet, sour, nutty and strong, then strain and garnish with a lemon twist and brandied cherries.

    Get the recipe.

  • Fall from the Tree

    Fall from the Tree

     The Happiest Hour

    Make the most of fall flavors with this cocktail from The Happiest Hour in NYC. Choose your base spirit (either applejack, bourbon or scotch), then mix it with fresh apple juice, cinnamon syrup, lemon juice and a dash of The Bitter Truth aromatic bitters. Serve in a chilled coupe glass, topped with a fresh apple slice to hint to the flavors you’ll find within.

    Get the recipe.

  • Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned

    Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned
    Max Cusimano

    This twist on an Old Fashioned is a taste of October in a glass. Homemade pumpkin syrup tastes like pie seasoning in liquid form, and it pairs delightfully with the complex flavors found in bourbon. A couple dashes of orange bitters helps to bring in some classic Old Fashioned flavor, and a splash of club soda keeps it all from getting too heavy.

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    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • Honey-Kissed Cosmopolitan

    Honey-Kissed Cosmopolitan


    This isn’t Carrie Bradshaw’s classic Cosmo. Instead, this boozy mix forms a drink that’s equal parts fruity, herbal, bright and sweet. Lime and cranberry juice make their expected appearance for a typical Cosmopolitan flavor that’s bumped up with the addition of rosemary, grapefruit vodka and honey.

    Get the recipe.

  • Holy Smokes

    Holy Smokes
    Tony Devencenzi

    Ease into fall’s colder days and darker spirits with this elegantly complex cocktail. Bourbon, Cardamaro amaro and Benedictine form a richly flavored boozy base that’s complemented by a few dashes of chocolate bitters and a little bit of smoky single-malt scotch. Serve in a chilled small cocktail glass garnished with a flamed orange peel.

    Get the recipe.

  • Pumpkin Toddy

    Pumpkin Toddy / Tim Nusog

    This twist on a classic Hot Toddy is ideal for crisp fall afternoons. After all, who wouldn’t love a Toddy that’s bumped up with the addition of apple brandy, maple syrup and pumpkin purée? All it needs is a sprinkle of fresh cinnamon to completely transform the drink into a fall favorite.

    Get the recipe.