Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Entertaining
3 Unexpectedly Awesome Fall Cocktails You Need to Try

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Fall has become predictable. September rolls around, and everyone instinctively picks up a pumpkin spice latte and stocks up on bourbon. There’s a pot of mulled cider on every stove and a stash of smoky scotch in every cabinet. It’s comfortable—but it’s boring. Luckily, there are a few ingenious bartenders out there who have managed to turn the trends on their cornucopia-covered heads.

At Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine, manager Ryan Smith takes a cautious approach when it comes to embracing fall. She doesn’t run head first into bourbon, (“I think that’s more fall-into-winter,” she says) but instead eases away from summer. It’s Maine, after all, and once that first frost hits, the locals are in for a long stretch of chilly nights. “You want to keep summer in the back of your mind because it goes so fast,” she says. She likes to base her drinks on spirits with just a hint of spice, like rum, which still carries with it tropical island memories, or reposado tequila, which blends seamlessly with baking spices like clove and cinnamon. Also on the menu, a sherry-based spritz, which marries the nutty notes of fino sherry with the effervescent spritz of Cava. Her hard rule: “Definitely stay away from Hot Toddies.” At least until December.

Here, Eventide’s recipe for that sherry-based spritz, along with two other boundary-pushing cocktails that transform summery ingredients and styles into fall-perfect libations.

Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Aperol Spritzes might have ruled summer, but come fall, this sherry-based spritz reigns supreme. Simple and to the point, the easy-to-mix blend of sherry, Cava and ginger from Eventide Oyster Co. is, according to Smith, “warm but sparkly, summer but fall.” It’s the perfect drink for anytime of day; sip it on an autumnal afternoon, make a big batch for brunch or dress it up in a fancy glass for a dinner party. It’s your new, low-ABV fall favorite.

The Essentials

Fino Sherry
Ginger Syrup
Cava
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
While vodka-diehards will never give up their beloved neutral spirit, no matter the season, others leave it behind for heartier spirits like whiskey and rum when the leaves start to change. But this cocktail from NYC’s Mother’s Ruin proves that good ol’ vodka can get seasonal with the best of them. Made with maple syrup, fresh apple juice, muddled fig, fragrant Thai basil and, of course, a potent slug of vodka, it’s like a bright and crisp fall day in a glass. Even loyal whiskey drinkers will be convinced.

The Essentials

vodka
Maple Syrup
Apple Juice
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Fall cocktails are often stirred and strong and rarely involve more than one or two ice cubes. But The Lately’s Bench Warmer pours an avalanche of crushed ice, and a good measure of beer, over that stereotype. Made for a group (like a Scorpion Bowl), the large format beer slushie pairs richly tropical Plantation Pineapple Rum with earthy rosemary syrup, wheat beer and a couple of dashes of savory Maggi sauce for depth. Served in a pitcher with a fistful of straws, it’s the ultimate fall party drink. Of course, you can pour it into glasses if you absolutely must—but where’s the fun in that?

The Essentials

Pineapple Rum
Rosemary Syrup
Wheat beer

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