As fall is in full swing and we head into the holiday season, it’s time to spice up your cocktail game. The colder weather might have you craving hot drinks spiked with dark spirits, and we have plenty of those, plus so much more. From boozy riffs on our favorite autumnal coffees to classic cocktails spiked with fall flavors, these recipes will surprise your taste buds through the rest of the season.
Black Mole Margarita
Created at Nightmoves in Brooklyn, this revamped Margarita is a rich and unique take on the tequila classic. Mezcal joins Cointreau and fresh lime juice, while homemade cocoa-orange syrup adds depth. Round it all out with a couple of dashes of mole bitters, top with soda water, and serve with a lime wheel.
- 1 3/4 ounces mezcal
- 1 ounce Cointreau
- 1-ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce black-cocoa-and-orange syrup*
- 3 dashes mole bitters (such as Bittermens)
- Soda water, to top
- Garnish: lime wheel (dehydrated or fresh)
Add all ingredients except soda water into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
Top with soda water and stir gently to combine.
Garnish with a lime wheel.
*Black-cocoa-and-orange syrup: Add 1 cup demerara sugar and 1/2 cup water into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder and the peel from 1 large orange. Stir until cocoa powder is dissolved, and allow to steep until cool. Strain out solids. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.
This boozy large-format take on the favorite fall drink sees your choice of spirit, coffee, pumpkin puree, milk, sugar, heavy cream, and spices heated in a slow cooker, then served with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon or nutmeg.
- 8 ounces dark rum, bourbon, or Frangelico (optional)
- 5 cups coffee, freshly brewed
- 4 cups of milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup pumpkin purée
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 stick cinnamon
- Garnish: 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
- Garnish: grated cinnamon or nutmeg
Add all ingredients into a slow cooker, and heat on high for at least 90 minutes.
Whip 1/2 cup heavy cream until soft peaks form.
Divide the heated mixture among 10 to 12 mugs, and top each with whipped cream. Garnish with grated cinnamon or nutmeg.
South by Southwest
What happens when you swap in scotch for gin in a Negroni? You get the South by Southwest. Smoky 10-year-old scotch and bittersweet Campari are the perfect pair, especially when they’re balanced out with just a hint of sweet vermouth. Serve in a chilled glass that has been misted with orange blossom water, and garnish with an orange twist.
- 1 ounce Ardbeg 10-year-old scotch
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1 ounce Dolin sweet vermouth
- Orange blossom water, to mist
- Garnish: Orange blossom water
- Garnish: Orange twist
Mist the inside of a chilled Old Fashioned glass with 4 sprays of orange blossom water and set aside.
Add the scotch, vermouth, and Campari into a mixing glass with ice and stir.
Strain into the Old Fashioned glass.
Garnish with another spray of orange blossom water and an orange twist.
Simple yet gratifying, this is a nightcap you’re not going to want to sleep on. Fernet-Branca, crème de cacao, cold-brew coffee, and vanilla syrup make a bitter, sweet and bracing drink that’s elevated with a final float of sparkling red wine.
- 3/4 ounce Fernet-Branca
- 1/2 ounce Tempus Fugit crème de cacao
- 1-ounce cold-brew coffee
- 3/4 ounce vanilla syrup
- 1-ounce Gragnano vino (sparkling red wine similar to Lambrusco)
Add all ingredients except wine into a rocks glass.
Add one large ice cube and stir to chill.
Float the wine over the top of the drink by pouring it slowly over the back of a spoon.
All-star bartender Naren Young puts a fall twist on the Sazerac by using real pumpkin in a spiced syrup, which joins cognac (or rye whiskey) and Peychaud’s bitters in an absinthe-rinsed rocks glass with a final spritz of the expressed oils from a lemon twist.
- 2 ounces cognac (or rye whiskey)
- 1/2 ounce pumpkin syrup*
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 1/4 ounce absinthe
- Garnish: lemon twist
Chill a rocks glass in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Add the cognac (or rye whiskey), pumpkin syrup, and bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir for 30 seconds.
Remove the rocks glass from the freezer and add the absinthe, swirling it around the inside, then discard the excess.
Strain the stirred mixture into the prepared glass.
Twist a swath of lemon peel over the glass to express the oils onto the drink, then discard.
*Pumpkin syrup: Add 16 ounces hot water, 3 1/2 cups granulated white sugar, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, and 20 sugar-cube-size lumps of freshly cooked pumpkin into a blender. Blend until the texture is smooth. Strain through a sieve and discard solids. Keep refrigerated.
This recipe from the bartender and distiller Allen Katz mixes gin, apple and cranberry juices, and black tea with a spiced cinnamon syrup for an elegantly autumnal cocktail, garnished with equally elegant apple slices.
- 1 1/2 ounces gin
- 1-ounce apple juice
- 1-ounce cranberry juice
- 1 ounce brewed black tea, chilled
- 1/2 ounce cinnamon syrup
- Garnish: 2 apple slices
Add all the ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass.
Garnish with thin apple slices.
Credit to Olivia French
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