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Entertaining
7 Best Vodka Cocktails for Fall

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The brisk fall air is officially here, and with it, cozy flannel shirts, amber-hued leaves and nothing but warm, spicy whiskey all season long … right? Wrong! One of the biggest misconceptions of autumn is that whiskey is the only spirit worthy of sipping. But vodka is an excellent canvas for showcasing fall’s seasonal ingredients and highlighting flavors that a darker spirit would overpower. Here are seven fantastic cocktails that prove vodka is just as good as whiskey in the fall—and sometimes even better.

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The Moscow Mule transcends seasonality. It’s ultra refreshing in the summer, zesty in the winter, eye-opening in the spring. But it’s particularly satisfying in fall, when the spicy ginger beer cocktail helps ease the transition from icy summer slushies to spice-driven, autumnal cocktails. Try topping your fall Moscow Mule with a sprig of rosemary or thyme, or adding some seasonal fruit like pomegranate seeds or apple slices.

The Essentials

Vodka
Lime Juice
Ginger Beer
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Fall is all about coffee beverages, from the Pumpkin Spice Latte to the Maple Pecan Latte. Disrupt the overly sweet latte game with this Espresso Martini. Created by Dev Johnson of New York’s Employees Only, this dry cocktail uses freshly brewed espresso (no saccharine coffee liqueurs), vodka and a touch of simple syrup. The result is sweet, bitter, creamy and uber classy—definitely the superior caffeinated beverage of the season.

The Essentials

Vodka
Espresso
Simple Syrup
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While Vodka-Crans can be ordered year round, you can only enjoy this tarter take on the classic duo in the fall when fresh cranberries are in season. In this lowball, vodka mixes with a homemade cranberry shrub, which is made by reducing fresh cranberries with apple cider vinegar, allspice berries and sugar. It’s vibrant and funky, and a perfect digestif after a fall roast dinner.

The Essentials

vodka
Cranberry Shrub
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Though they often get overshadowed by apples, pears are another fall fruit worthy of our attention, especially when it comes to cocktails. This drink from Jon Feuersanger of beast + bottle in Denver uses both pear liqueur and pear bitters to sweeten up a mix of vodka, violet liqueur and lime. This pear-tini is also fairly low in alcohol, which makes it ideal for day drinking on a fall afternoon.

The Essentials

Vodka
Pear Liqueur
Lime Juice
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As you could probably tell by the fact that your coworkers have stopped talking to you and are instead glued to their fantasy league standings, it’s football season. Whether you’re a football fan or not, everyone can agree that the greatest parts of gameday are the food and the booze, and this Bloody Mary combines the best of both. Inspired by tangy, spicy Buffalo wings, this Bloody uses Frank’s Red Hot sauce (the chosen Buffalo sauce of wing lovers everywhere), and it’s garnished with a whole chicken wing and fried blue cheese cubes. Enjoy at the next tailgate or on the couch during a marathon of Sunday football.

The Essentials

Vodka
Tomato juice
Frank’s Red Hot
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It’s never too early to start preparing your Thanksgiving menu or drinking a turkey day-inspired cocktail. A twist on the Bullshot, this savory drink calls for turkey stock, fresh lemon, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, and touches of salt and black pepper. The star ingredient, though, is the gravy-washed vodka, which gives the drink an extra meaty flavor and silky texture. Garnish with a crispy piece of fried turkey skin for the ultimate carnivorous indulgence.

The Essentials

gravy fat-washed vodka
homemade turkey stock
lemon juice
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This is not the Apple Martini of college drinking nights gone wrong. This Appletini is a world apart from those artificial monstrosities. Vodka, apple juice (the fresher the better), lemon and a high-quality apple liqueur mix to create a cocktail that doesn’t look like antifreeze. It tastes tart and sweet, like a Granny Smith apple that was just plucked from an orchard.

The Essentials

Vodka
Apple Liqueur
Apple Juice

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