21 Fall Cocktails That Will Perfectly Complement Your Thanksgiving Feast
Thanksgiving is mere days away, and the turkey is defrosting, the homemade cranberry sauce is chilling out in the freezer, and the canned pumpkin waits on the counter to be turned into a pie. But have you even thought about your holiday cocktail list yet? If your friends are anything like ours, you’ll need to have more than wine on hand.
Check out our favorite fall cocktail recipes from some of the best bartenders and mixologists from around the country.
- “As far as taste profile, this drink is an Old Fashioned that tastes great and incorporates some nuanced tropical flavors,” says cocktail creator Alexander Day, owner of bar 151 in New York. “Old Forester is a natural choice for the bourbon as it has got some fantastic roasted coconut notes as well as mint and vanilla.” And in case you were wondering, the cocktail’s name is, in fact, a reference to the trading card game Magic: The Gathering. The moniker came about after Day’s lead bartender spotted someone playing the game at the bar.
- 1 oz. Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey ($26; wines4today.com)
- 1 oz. Pierre Ferrand 1840 ($40; shop.southlyndale.com)
- 1 tsp pineapple syrup
- 2 drops Tiki bitters ($19; awesomedrinks.com)
- 1 dash Angostura bitters ($5; walmart.com)
Add ingredients to glass and then stir the ice until it is properly chilled. Garnish with pineapple frond.
“Founder’s Reserve is light enough to be served as an aperitif whisky, but nuanced enough to carry flavor into a long and contemplative finish,” says creator Kevin Denton, a mixologist employed by Pernod Ricard USA and former bar director at New York’s WD-50 and Adler. “The flavors are bold, but not so aggressive that they dominate a cocktail. The spectrum of spice, citrus, wood and cereal malt harmonize well with numerous cocktail ingredients and allow versatility for different styles of drink. It can easily be substituted for bourbon in American whisky cocktails.”
- 1½ parts The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve (starting at $54; caskers.com)
- 1 part fresh grapefruit juice
- ¼ part fresh lemon juice
- ½ part honey syrup
- 3-4 raspberries
1. Muddle raspberries and honey syrup together in a shaker tin.
2. Combine remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a fresh raspberry.
Black Walnut Old Fashioned
"What makes the Black Walnut Old Fashioned really stand out is that we replace the sugar component with a rich, dark walnut liquor which balances beautifully with the aged bourbon to make a velvety smooth fall sipping cocktail,” says creator Johnny Swet, head mixologist at The Skylark in New York. “We also replace the angostura bitters with orange bitters, which enhance and round out the walnut flavor. It's then poured over a crystal clear ice block is the finishing touch."
- 2 oz. Buffalo Trace Bourbon ($22; klwines.com)
- ¾ oz. walnut liquor ($22; winewisegreenwich.com)
- 4 dashes of orange bitters
1. Stir and strain into rocks glass with cubed ice.
2. Garnish with orange twist ant brandied cherries.
Bacardi Apple Bite
If you need to catch up on your bartender basics, gastrique is a sweet-and-sour sugar and vinegar reduction that often finds its way into fancy-shmancy sauces. They are easy to make, and add an elegant aura to just about any dish or drink. “The apple gastrique here imparts a nice and settled acidity and mellow sweetness” says Juan Coronado, cocktail innovator at Barmini by Jose Andres in Washington, D.C. “This cocktail has an elegant balance and a beautiful aroma of caramelized apples that I personally can enjoy all year round.”
- 2 parts Bacardi Gran Reserva Ocho Años ($23; winedelights.com)
- 1 part apple gastrique (recipe below)
- Apple chip for garnish
To Make Apple Gastrique
1 cup of fresh apple juice
1 cup of rice vinegar
1 cup of white sugar
Mix all ingredients to dissolve the sugar. Allow it to simmer over medium heat. Let it cool off and refrigerate after use.
To Make Bacardi Apple Bite
Stir all ingredients with ice until very cold, strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with an apple chip.
“I’ve created a simple, refreshing cocktail that pairs Viejo Indecente’s Espadin Mezcal, a crisp and earthy spirit that’s totally free of the heavy smoke notes of many other Mezcals, with a fresh pineapple syrup,” says Paulette Raquel, an L.A.-based bartender and the drink’s creator. “The bright flavors of the pineapple and citrus really help to balance the earthy notes from the Mezcal.”
- 1½ oz Viejo Indecente Espadín ($60; store.passionspirits.com)
- 1 oz fresh pineapple syrup (recipe below)
- ¾ lime, juiced
To Make Pineapple Syrup
1. Combine 1 cup fresh pineapple juice with 1 cup of demerara sugar in a small saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat and simmer until the liquid reduces to a rich syrup-like consistency. Chill.
To Make Indecent Pineapple
1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously.
2. Strain into a glass with ice, and garnish with a sprig of cilantro.
We’re loving this twist on the classic Negroni, which ditches gin for south-of-the-border-staple Mezcal. “The Mezcal’s flavor profile—earthy and vegetal, with some notes of saline due to the region’s coastal tradewinds—pairs perfectly with the peppery notes found in Aperol,” says cocktail creator Abraham Ramirez of the Bar La Celestina Mezcal in Mexico City.
Build ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until chilled, and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange zest and cinnamon stick.
This gin drink—which comes from the Beretta cocktail bar in San Francisco—mixes the citrusy-heavy Aviation gin with apple, lemon, basil, and honey, and is perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth.
- 1½ oz Aviation gin ($43; thewhiskyexchange.com)
- 1 oz organic apple juice
- ¾ oz freshly pressed lemon juice
- 3 basil leaves
- ½ oz honey syrup (recipe below)
To Make Honey Syrup
Combine equal portions of honey and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil until all the honey has dissolved. Let cool.
To Make The Lonsdale
1. In a pint mixing glass, lightly muddle basil leaves.
2. Add spirits and mixers. Fill with ice. Shake vigorously.
3. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with a basil leaf.
Jim Beam Apple and Soda
This hassle-free fall drink is more quick-mix than crazy cocktail, with no shaker or fuss required. Just add club soda to Jim Beam’s new Apple-flavored bourbon, and your buds will taste an autumn orchard.
- 1 part Jim Beam Apple ($12; wineanthology.com)
- 2 parts club soda
- 1 lemon wedge
Build over ice in a tall highball glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Stoli Spiked Cider
When the mercury drops, heat up this apple-tastic cider cocktail—created by Brent Lamberti, formerly of the Corner Bistro—and curl up in front of the fire. When the sun is shining again, add ice and enjoy it outdoors.
- 1½ parts Stoli Premium Vodka (or Stoli Salted Karamel; $30; thewhiskyexchange.com)
- 3 parts apple cider
- ¼ part lemon juice
- ½ part simple syrup
1. If serving hot, warm up the apple cider.
2. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
3. Serve in a highball glass hot or chilled with ice.
“When Pernod Classic is paired with champagne and pear, it creates a deliciously refreshing and crisp cocktail that is the right balance of sweet and herbal,” mixologist Kevin Denton says. “The delicacy of this cocktail makes it perfect for morning brunches and afternoon refreshments.”
- 1 part Pernod Classic ($26; klwines.com)
- 1 part pear puree
- Lemon, for garnish
Stir over ice and strain into a flute, top with champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.
The Jerry Lee Lewis
The goal behind this cinnamon-bourbon drink: Take the tongue-stinging bite of a Fireball whiskey shot, and infuse it with some class. “We wanted to make it higher-end, artisanal, and natural, kind of based on an Old Fashioned,” says Johnny Swet of N.Y.C.’s The Rickey, who also created this drink. “As a special touch we make an Ice Sphere and garnish with chili and cinnamon. Once we added an ice sphere, it seemed only natural to name it after Jerry Lee Lewis, whose biggest hit was ‘Great Balls of Fire.’”
- 2 oz. Hudson Baby Bourbon ($48; caskers.com)
- 1 oz. Ancho Reyes Chili liquor ($33; winewisegreenwich.com)
- ½ oz. cinnamon syrup ($5; kitchenofglam.com)
- 1 dash chili tincture
- Cinnamon stick and chili for garnish
Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker and add cinnamon stick and chili for garnish.
- From:Estiatorio Milos at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
- 2 oz. Skinos (Mastiha liqueur)
- 1 ½ oz. grapefruit juice
- ½ oz. lime juice
- ½ oz. simple syrup
- ½ oz. egg whites
Harvest Spiced Punch
2 750 mL bottles of spiced red wine (try Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Harvest Spiced Red Blend, or any spiced red wine)
1 cup orange liqueur
1 cup fresh orange juice
½ cup pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, sliced into 5 rounds
1 lemon, sliced into 5 rounds
Seeds from half of a medium pomegranate
1. Combine wine, orange liqueur, orange juice, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and cinnamon sticks in a large punch bowl. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
2. Just before serving, add orange and lemon slices, and sprinkle pomegranate seeds over top of punch.
3. Serve over ice, and enjoy!
- From:Comme Ca West Hollywood
- 2 oz. Rittenhouse rye or other rye
- ½ oz. Dolin Rouge vermouth or a comparable sweet vermouth
- ½ oz. sage-infused dry vermouth, such as Dolin
- 2-4 dashes of Angostura bitters depending on how much bitter taste you like
- 1 fresh sage leaf
Combine ingredients and garnish with sage leaf.
- From:Arlington Club
- 2 parts apple brandy
- 1 part apple ginger liqueur
- ½ part ginger syrup
- ½ part simple syrup
- Juice from half a lemon
- Sugar and orange peel for garnish
- From:LAVO Italian Restaurant
- 2 parts Bulleit bourbon
- 1 part sour mix
- 1 part simple syrup
- 1 dash specialty bitters
Bacon Old Fashioned
- 10 strips of bacon
- 12 oz. Angostura bitters
- 3 brandy cherries
- 1 cube of brown sugar
- 1 oz. Calvados brandy
- 1 oz. Bulleit bourbon
- 1 cup ice
- 1 splash of club soda
- Orange twist
Prince Street Cider
- From: Delicatessen
- 1 ½ oz. Montecristo rum
- 1 oz. apple cider
- ½ oz. Domaine Canton
- ¼ oz. simple syrup
- 2 dashes cinnamon (1 in drink, 1 as garnish)
- 1 piece crushed lemon
- 1 oz. pumpkin puree
- 2 oz. Eagle Rare bourbon
- ¾ oz. lemon juice
- ½ oz. honey
- ½ oz. Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur)
- 4 sage leaves
- ¼ tsp. grated ginger
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- From:A Voce Columbus
- 1 ½ oz. Crop Pumpkin Spice
- 1 oz. 1/4 cream plus 3/4 milk
- ½ oz. sage syrup
- 1 oz. carrot juice
- Pumpkin seeds and nutmeg for garnish
Hot Spiced Rum Cider
- From:The Patterson House
- 2 oz. Sailor Jerry spiced rum
- 6 oz. hot cider mix (recipe below)
- 1 cinnamon stick as garnish
- Cider mix recipe:
- 3 c. apple cider or unfiltered apple juice
- 3 oz. Dark Wildflower honey
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice