The Best Winter and Fall Cocktails
When the weather starts warming up, you might start thinking about frozen daiquiris, margaritas, and moscow mules, but what about when it turns colder? Winter and fall cocktails don't feel nearly as ubiquitous as their summertime companions. Sure there are hot toddies, but they often feel more like a home remedy than a happy hour. But there's actually a wealth of flavors and recipes that serve as a hearty welcome to winter winds, including a few that might surprise you.
We scoured Instagram for inspiration to see what some of the world's tastemakers are serving up on crisp, chilly nights.
Nickel 9 Distillery | Toronto, Canada
At Nickel 9, they call this tasty little number The Cardigan, which has all the flavors of a grownup back-to-school special: an apple-cardamom shrub and ginger bitters plus vodka (of course). Think of it like a boozy twist on an apple pie, only with less sweetness and more spice. If that doesn't say autumn, what does?
Noa Lounge Gourmet | L'Albir, Spain
Maybe it's just us, but we're pretty sure you'd be hard pressed to find a drink as downright spooky (or tasty) as this one. Made with a blend of Licor 43, a Spanish liqueur made from a mix of vanilla, citrus, and spices, and ice cream (!!!), it's really the spiderweb top that has us swooning.
The Turn House | Baltimore, Maryland
PSL lovers, meet the Tini Pumpkin Pie: vanilla vodka, Fulton's pumpkin liqueur, and a house-infused cinnamon simple syrup. More than fall in a glass, it's practically the essence of the holidays. Who ever thought drinking your dessert could be so fun? We recommend testing this simple recipe out over the holidays and all season long.
David M. Mor | Chicago, Illinois
David Mor might be the special events manager at Cindy's Rooftop, but you won't find this drink on the menu there: it's a special one of his own creation called Baby It's Cold Outside. Intrepid at-home mixologists can follow the recipe on his Instagram, but this inventive drink blends vanilla bean-infused vodka, pisco, angostura, sarsaparilla, cacao nib-infused almond milk, and cacao smoke. That's right, smoke, which he recommends gently pouring over the drink's center for "perfect winter vibes."
Merchant Madison | Madison, Wisconsin
This drink also relies on a smoky flavor (you'll find it's a running theme among these fall cocktails), but in a far easier to manage vehicle: mezcal. Mezcal is a Mexican spirit similar to tequila, but its hallmark is its intense smoky flavor, which may remind some drinkers of scotch. Here, it's paired with Cynar (a bittersweet liqueur), amaro, and a lot of spices. The spice comes in the form of a masala chai syrup and a tincture made from the West African spice, grains of paradise. That makes this cocktail warm, spicy, and totally unexpected.
The Ugly Duckling | Melbourne, Australia
The Ugly Duckling does their own unique spin on the smoky flavor trend with the Cherry Wood Old Fashioned. The glass traps the smoke from a torched cube of cherry wood before the blend of toasted-allspice infused bourbon, Bénédictine, and cherry bitters is poured in. The drink mingles with the smoke's residue for a warm and inviting sipper.
Musgrave Gin | Cape Town, South Africa
Could this be one of the most inventive and unexpected gin cocktails on our list? We think so. Using Musgrave Gin's special Rose gin, which adds rosewater and rosehip to its list of botanicals, the Rose Gin Latté warms drinkers up with a surprisingly floral flavor. Rooibos tea, cinnamon-and-orange syrup, and cream come together for the coziest cuppa we've ever heard of.
The Green Hour | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The La Canadiense at The Green Hour is so perfectly seasonal it might as well be wearing a handknit sweater. Mezcal gives it smokiness, while Canadian whiskey adds some spice and muddled orange peel, apple bitters, and maple syrup provide the sweetness.
Heights Taco & Tamale | Little Rock, Arkansas
A taco joint might not be the first place you think of when it comes to winter-weather cocktails, but Heights Taco & Tamale has a winner with their Gin Spice Punch. It adds classic mulling flavors and housemade grenadine to a dry gin for a drink that sounds as comforting as it does refreshing.
Saxon + Parole | New York City, New York
This fig smash might look tropical, but it's actually chock full of surprising wintry flavors. A rare combination of Mellow Corn whiskey is muddled with black mission figs. The corn whiskey contains notes of vanilla and corn (duh) that'll remind you of a crisp farm day while the jammy flavor of the figs will take you right back to the holidays, especially when a bit of honey and smoke is added.