As we ease out of summer and into fall, our taste in cocktails varies just as much as the weather. Some days, we’re in the mood for a light and refreshing Transfusion variation. Other days, we want the warmer flavors of a Blood & Sand. No matter your mood or the temperature outside, we’re sure you’ll find something in this list of 11 cocktails you should make this month.
Blood & Sand
Just because summer’s ending doesn’t mean you have to give up on sand completely. This scotch cocktail is a delicious blend of smoky and fruity that has stood the test of time since 1930. Just combine scotch with sweet vermouth, Cherry Heering, and freshly squeezed orange juice.
Vermouth gets the attention it deserves in this century-old classic. Benedictine helps to bring out dry vermouth’s light and herbal notes, while a few dashes of absinthe help to sharpen everything and add a depth of complexity for a unique flavor you won’t find anywhere else.
Bourbon Sweet Tea
Whether you make a batch of this for your next celebration or you keep it all just for yourself, this spiked tea is ideal for hotter days. After you make a batch of strong sweet tea, cool it with water and ice and stir in a healthy dose of bourbon. Chill until you’re ready to drink it, then serve with ice, mint, and lemon slices.
A country club staple, this fancified Transfusion variation, using ice cubes made with Concord grape juice, keeps the summer sunshine going into fall. Just shake vodka, ginger syrup, and freshly squeezed lime juice with ice, then strain into a rocks glass over the grape juice ice cubes. Top it with club soda for a little fizz, then garnish with a grape and piece of crystallized ginger to tie it all together.
The Negroni is rumored to have been invented in Florence by an Italian count who demanded that the bartender replace the club soda in his Americano with gin, inadvertently launching a cocktail that would remain popular for ages. The equal-parts mix of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth renders a refreshingly bitter combo that only needs an orange peel to reach true perfection.
Absinthe is the unlikely star of this punch, and it really shines when mixed with fresh lime juice and simple syrup. Dilute it with water and garnish with cucumber slices, and get ready to sip and relax in style.
Late-summer peaches serve as the inspiration for this play on a classic Old Fashioned. Muddle a Luxardo maraschino cherry, an orange slice, and a few dashes of orange bitters together, then shake with ice, bourbon, and peach schnapps until well-chilled. Strain over a large ice cube and serve with an orange slice, dehydrated or fresh, for extra pizzazz.
Spicy Mint Avocado Margarita
If you’ve been drinking Margaritas all summer, try this variation to switch things up. Avocado adds a subtle creaminess to a classic Margarita recipe, while fresh muddled jalapeño adds spice and mint adds a hint of freshness. Serve in a double rocks glass rimmed with salt.
The Amaretto Sour has gotten a bad rap over the years for its reliance on the sour mix in the wrong hands. But Portland bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s rendition is a revelation, combining amaretto, bourbon, fresh lemon juice, and rich simple syrup with an egg white. Garnish with a lemon twist and brandied cherries.
This pre-Prohibition classic, an equal-parts mixture of gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and fresh lime juice, has become a staple in cocktail bars across the country. Its blend of sweet, sour, and herbal flavors will leave you, er, speechless.
Sloe Gin Fizz
As the most classic way to employ sloe gin, this fruity cooler is perfect for early-fall porch sipping. Simply shake together sloe gin, simple syrup, and freshly squeezed lemon juice, then top with club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge and cherry.
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