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Entertaining
9 Best Bourbon Cocktails for Fall

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There are plenty of spirits we reach for come fall, but the only one we crave every day of the season is whiskey. After sunny months of tropical frozen libations and spritzy low-ABV sippers, it’s time to indulge in whiskey’s warm, loving embrace. Bourbon, in particular, with its notes of caramel, vanilla and baking spices, was made for the fall. Whether you’re looking for a comforting drink for a night in, a Halloween party drink, the perfect pairing for your Thanksgiving feast, or a cocktail to unwind with after a brisk day of leaf peeping, these are the nine best bourbon cocktails to try.

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The first Pumpkin Spice Latte hit Starbucks long before the season officially began, kicking off fall for those who care more about flavored coffees than weather patterns. Our version of the PSL vastly improves upon the original in two ways: booze and real pumpkin. Bourbon mixes with hot coffee and homemade pumpkin spice syrup (made from pumpkin purée, brown sugar, vanilla, and spices like cinnamon and clove), and gets topped with creamy Baileys, fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. This sensational beverage is actually worthy of the hype and, best of all, you don’t have to wait in line for it.

The Essentials

bourbon
coffee
Pumpkin Spice Syrup
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Figs—one of the most underrated fall fruits—inspired Christian Orlando of New York’s Seamstress to create this cocktail. He shakes sweet fig jam with bourbon, pomegranate and ginger liqueurs, quality maple syrup, lemon juice and an egg white to create a rich autumnal beverage with hints of fruitiness and spice. The frothy foam topping holds dashes of Angostura bitters in an aromatic swirl.

The Essentials

bourbon
Liqueur
fig jam
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Pork chops and applesauce are a quintessential home-cooked meal during fall, when you have the time to while away a Sunday braising pork and coring apples. This cocktail is perfect when a craving strikes but you don’t have the patience to get that perfect sear. Served at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, this drink combines bourbon with ingredients traditionally used to season pork: apple cider, dijon mustard and thyme. Hits of tart lemon juice and sweet maple syrup balance everything out, while a fresh granny smith apple garnish puts it over the top.

The Essentials

Bourbon
apple cider
Dijon Mustard
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If you’re at the age where fall means spending your mornings packing lunchboxes and sending your kids off to school, be sure to snag one of their apple juice boxes for yourself for happy hour. This whimsical cocktail, served directly from the juice box if you desire, mixes bourbon with applejack, apple juice, allspice dram, honey syrup, lime and some scotch for added smokiness. If you don’t have school-aged children, don’t worry; no one will judge you at the store for stocking up on Mott’s, especially with a paper bag full of whiskey in tow.

The Essentials

Apple juice box
Bourbon
Applejack
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While you’re cozying up under a blanket, avoiding a particularly chilly fall day, mix up this nutty take on an Old Fashioned by Johnny Swet of The Skylark in NYC. Instead of using sugar, Swet opts for a measure of Nocello walnut liqueur, which gives it a delicious, toasty flavor and pairs well with spicy Angostura bitters. It’s like drinkable, boozy, candied walnuts—something we never knew we wanted before trying this delectable cocktail.

The Essentials

bourbon
Nocello Walnut Liqueur
Angostura Bitters
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Drinking spiked hot apple cider while apple picking is a recipe for a legendary afternoon, but for less clandestine imbibing, whip up this decadent, steaming mug of boozy apple cider. Chef Nick Korbee of New York’s Egg Shop mixes apple cider with Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon, amaro and lemon juice, all heated up on the stove. This piping blend is then stirred with a drizzle of homemade salted caramel sauce and garnished with a cinnamon stick and fresh nutmeg.

The Essentials

apple cider
Smoked Maple Bourbon
Caramel Sauce
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Pumpkins aren’t the only savory-sweet, bright orange food we love to incorporate into our cocktails; yams taste as delicious mixed into a drink as they do on our Thanksgiving tables. This cocktail from New York’s The National in the Benjamin Hotel is made with puréed sweet potatoes, bourbon, maple syrup and lemon juice. Poured into an elegant coupe glass that’s been rimmed in a cinnamon spice and sugar blend, it’s the perfect drink to serve the day after Thanksgiving when you’re trying to use up all those leftovers.

The Essentials

bourbon
sweet potato purée
maple syrup
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While maple syrup is found in many a fall-friendly cocktail, it’s the sar in this cocktail from Los Angeles’ B.S. Taqueria. The fall-inspired take on a Whiskey Sour gets a hearty pour of maple syrup (use a high-quality bottling), bourbon, egg whites, lemon and Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile liqueur for some heat. A few dashes of swirled Peychaud’s bitters will remind you of diving into a pile of maple leaves.

The Essentials

Bourbon
Maple Syrup
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How do you win a fall party? Easy—you serve drinks in a pumpkin. For this punchkin, the seasonal, hollowed-out vessel isn’t the only thing to get excited about; the boozy mix inside is also fantastic and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Bourbon, apricot brandy, pumpkin purée and lemon juice mix with homemade pumpkin spice syrup and a bottle of sparkling apple cider, with cinnamon sticks for garnish. While we love it for our Halloween ragers, this punch would also be a welcome addition to a Friendsgiving, a harvest-inspired dinner party or Sunday football.

The Essentials

Bourbon
Apricot Brandy
Pumpkin Purée

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