Picture this. It’s July. You know. Sunny, hot, muggy, buggy, and…
…Halloween pop-up stores(?).
And this. It’s August. You know. Still sunny, hot, muggy, buggy, and…
This too. It’s September. You know you know. Dusky, mellow, comfortable, pleasant, and…
…holiday pre-preview extravaganzas?!?
Let’s sit down for an easy drink, and enjoy the season. There’s time enough.
Scroll down to see more photos and read more about Fall Cocktail Recipes.
“This would be good by the pool. This goes down too easy. The bourbon has a nice kick. The Cranberry Bourbon Sour Punch is so easy to drink. This has a lot of different flavors from the sweet and the tart and the bourbon. I like this!”
It’s October going into November. This is firepit time. We can smell wet autumn leaves resting on dark rich soil, feel the touch of crisp cool air on our cheeks, and see the whorls of our steamy breaths disappearing into the sunset. As we say goodbye to the growing season, we pull up close to the fire, and raise a glass. Let’s raise a few. We should take time to enjoy the season.
How about five cocktails, perfect for mild autumn afternoons or cool fall evenings?
Pumpkin Spice Martini (from The Kitchen is My Playground by Tracey):
2 Tbsp 100% pure pumpkin puree
3/4 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. vanilla vodka
2 oz. Bailey’s Original Irish Cream
1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1. Fill up a cocktail shaker with ice.
2. Add the pure pumpkin puree, simple syrup, vanilla vodka, Bailey’s, and pumpkin pie spice. Shake for approximately 30 seconds.
3. Pour the shaken mixture through a strainer and into a martini or cocktail glass.
4. Sprinkle additional pumpkin pie spice, if desired, and top with a cinnamon stick. For a sugar and spice glass rim, combine some granulated sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a shallow dish. Wet the rim of each glass. Then dip each rim into the sugar and spice mixture.
Lisa, my mom and I tried this cocktail for the first time. My mom: “I taste the alcohol of the Pumpkin Spice Martini in the back of my throat but it’s very smooth. The creaminess makes it more gentle. The sugar around the rim is nice. This is a fun drink!” Lisa: “This is very creamy and smooth. It doesn’t have a strong alcohol flavor. I feel just a little bit of warming. This is comforting and cozy. It’s very fall like. The Pumpkin Spice Martini could be a dessert!” And me: “I smell cinnamon. The texture is milky and creamy. I like the cinnamon and sugar coated rim that gives a nice texture. The Pumpkin Spice Martini is very gentle. I like going around the glass. I can’t stop drinking it!”
Apple and Gin Autumn Cocktail (from No Spoon Necessary by Cheyanne):
2 oz. gin
2 oz. apple cider
1/2 oz. lime juice
1 oz. honey simple syrup (0.13 cup honey, 0.13 cup hot water)
1 thyme sprig
1/2 apple (cut into matchsticks)
1. For the honey simple syrup: add hot water and honey to a Mason jar, and shake well until the honey is dissolved.
2. For the cocktail: combine gin, apple cider, lime juice, honey simple syrup, and cinnamon in a cocktail shaker with some ice. Shake well until chilled.
3. To serve: fill two glasses with ice and apple matchsticks. Strain cocktail to glasses and garnish with thyme sprigs.
I asked everyone for their thoughts. My mom: “This smells really nice. I like this tanginess. I taste the honey and apples. The Apple and Gin Autumn Cocktail brings out the tartness in the fresh apples. This is very refreshing. The apple matchsticks taste very good!” Lisa: “I can taste the honey, and feel the warmth from the Apple and Gin Autumn Cocktail. The smell is just amazing. I would drink this in the summer too. This would make a nice punch. I’m thrilled with this drink!” And me: “This smells like how I imagine a fall day at an apple orchard would be. This is very complex. I taste almost a note of grapefruit. It must be the lime and the gin botanicals. This is fun. The smell of fresh thyme is wonderful. I like this a lot. The apple orchard experience is through the nose and the palate. The Apple and Gin Autumn Cocktail really exceeds my expectations!”
“I like the warm finish of the Pumpkin RumChata Pudding Shot. This is creamy like cheesecake!”
Pumpkin RumChata Pudding Shots (from A Family Feast):
3/4 oz. box of pumpkin pie instant pudding mix
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup RumChata
2 whole graham crackers, crushed
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1. Pour dry pumpkin instant pudding mix into a medium bowl, and whisk in cold milk and RumChata. Whisk until smooth.
2. Transfer the mixture to a measuring cup with a spout. The pudding should have the consistency of a liquid.
3. Combine graham cracker crumbs and pumpkin pie spice, then sprinkle over each pudding shot.
4. Freeze for several hours. Serve frozen.
Lisa, my mom and I were going for the hat trick. My mom: “I like the warm finish of the Pumpkin RumChata Pudding Shot. This is creamy like cheesecake!” Lisa: “This reminds me of pumpkin pie, except even more creamy. The Pumpkin RumChata Pudding Shot has a nice warmth after from the RumChata!” And me: “I like the graham cracker topping. The Pumpkin RumChata Pudding Shot reminds me of spicy pumpkin pie. The RumChata underneath is warm, but not too strong. I like this!”
Cranberry Bourbon Sour Punch (from Half Baked Harvest):
1/3 cup maple syrup
1-1/3 cups fresh cranberries
1 large orange zest
1 cup bourbon
1/2 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup 100% cranberry juice
2 or 3 dashes orange bitters
2/3 blood orange, sliced
1. Cranberry syrup: in a medium pot, bring 1/2 cup water, maple syrup, and cranberries to a boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes or until the cranberries start to burst open. Remove from heat. Stir in orange zest. If the syrup thickens too fast, add additional water to thin. Let cool. If desired, strain cranberries from syrup.
2. In a punch bowl, combine cranberry syrup, bourbon, lemon juice, cranberry juice, and orange bitters. Stir and combine. Chill until ready to serve over ice. Garnish with an orange slice and candied rosemary, if desired.
3. Candied rosemary: line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently run sprigs of rosemary under a little cool water to moisten. Place onto parchment paper. Sprinkle rosemary with granulated sugar. Ensure that all sides are covered thoroughly. Allow to dry on baking sheet for about an hour.
For this one, we invited someone perfect for a punch—taking or giving. Quick! Put some punch in that girl’s dominant hand! Our friend Julie joined Lisa and me. Julie: “This would be good by the pool. This goes down too easy. The bourbon has a nice kick. The Cranberry Bourbon Sour Punch is so easy to drink. This has a lot of different flavors from the sweet and the tart and the bourbon. I like this!” Lisa: “The Cranberry Bourbon Sour Punch is very refreshing. I like tart drinks. This really appeals to me. I like the sugared rosemary. I like the colors too. I’ve always loved cranberries and orange!” And me: “Wow, this has a tart bite to it. This is perfect with the sun out. The texture has a nice pulp from the burst cranberries. The Cranberry Bourbon Sour Punch is very complex and pretty!” Make no mistake, Julie’s “weak hand” is just as active and potent.
Hot Apple Cider Buttered Whiskey (from Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch):
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp orange zest
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups brown sugar
1 Tbsp honey
Order of Assembly:
hot apple cider
orange peel (if desired)
1. Cream together butter, vanilla, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and salt. Combine until mixed well.
2. Beat in brown sugar and honey. Be sure to scrape sides of bowl often.
3. Drop 2 teaspoons hot butter whiskey mixture in an 8 ounce mug. Dissolve this mixture in hot apple cider. Stir in one shot of whiskey.
4. Garnish glass with cinnamon stick and/or orange peel.
Lisa and I cozied up to this nice fire starter. Lisa: “This smells very nice, like cider and pumpkin spice. Oh, the Hot Apple Cider Buttered Whiskey tastes really good. I taste the apple cider, a little bit of butter on the lips, and the warm rush of whiskey. It’s very smooth and not too strong. This would be really nice by the fire!” And me: “The texture is very interesting. It’s so smooth. There’s not much punch to the Hot Apple Cider Buttered Whiskey but that’s nice for a change. It has the nice amount of balance between apple sweetness, tart and whiskey warmth. This would be very good at a fire pit!”
“I can taste the honey, and feel the warmth from the Apple and Gin Autumn Cocktail. The smell is just amazing. I would drink this in the summer too. This would make a nice punch. I’m thrilled with this drink!”
Favorites played? We always do. My mom: Apple and Gin Cocktail. Julie: Cranberry Bourbon Sour Punch (we had tried another recipe). Lisa: Apple and Gin Cocktail or Cranberry Sour Punch. And me: Pumpkin Spice Martini or Apple and Gin Cocktail. Definitely the most pleasantly surprising was Hot Apple Cider Buttered Whiskey. The texture was velvety smooth, and the balance of flavors was delightful. The lock it in choice for parties were Pumpkin RumChata Pudding Shots. They’re the closest thing to pumpkin pie in a glass, but drinkable, and more refined for when after the treats are done. Favorites? We played them all!
If July conjures up Halloween popups, August dusts us with pumpkin spice, and September skips ahead to white beards, it is up to us to follow our own course. The menu consists of five easy pieces. Mix some friends and a fire pit, and enjoy the season. There’s time enough.
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