The dog days of summer are long gone. Those hot July evenings spent sipping Aperol Spritzes and G&T’s are but a fond memory we will no doubt relive next year. At the moment, as the weather begins to cool down, and autumn makes itself ever-increasingly evident, what we need are drinks that reflect the seasonal change. Something light and refreshing just doesn’t cut it at this time of year – just as we find ourselves layering up, our choice tipples must have more depth to them. As autumn instils into us a desire for the warmth of home, so too must our cocktails offer a more robust flavour profile. This means cocktails with a higher alcoholic content – in short, autumn is the time for dark spirits to prove their worth in the drinks cabinet. Whiskies, bourbons, and rums are all perfect base notes for drinks at this time of the year; they offer a resiny, spiced depth that somehow conjures up, at least for me, images of armchairs and roaring fireplaces.
Whiskies, bourbons, and rums are all perfect base notes for drinks at this time of the year; they offer a resiny, spiced depth that somehow conjures up, at least for me, images of armchairs and roaring fireplaces…
Next, you have those cocktails which make use of so-called ‘autumnal’ ingredients. This encompasses those made with whole spices or spice syrups – what would autumn be without cinnamon? Apples also feature greatly as the orchards are harvested at this time of year; the UK possesses some of the greatest apple varieties in the world and they pair so well with the spices mentioned above. Fashionable or tacky, even the seasonal stalwart that is the pumpkin has found its way into many an autumn cocktail (see the pumpkin colada below – Halloween beach party, anyone?).
Below you’ll find five of my favourite autumn cocktails to keep the cold out in the next few months. The Mimosa, Mulled Cider and Pumpkin Colada would be perfect for any special get-together – I think the Colada would be an excellent addition to a Halloween cocktail party, whilst the Mimosa and the Mulled Cider would warm anyone up on Bonfire Night. The Manhattan and Hunter’s Cocktail, on the other hand, are perfect drinks for moments of solitary indulgence; they are simple yet complex drinks that need to be savoured as much as possible.
Apple Cider Mimosa
1 bottle Prosecco/Cava/Champagne
250ml apple cider (preferably dry)
1. Fill champagne flutes/any glasses ¼ full with apple cider, then top off with champagne.
Manhattan (Serves 1)
50ml bourbon/rye whiskey/blended whiskey, according to preference
25ml sweet red vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 tsp syrup from a jar of maraschino cherries
Maraschino cherry, to be used as garnish
1. Place the bourbon/rye/blended whiskey, vermouth, bitters and syrup into a large glass filled with ice and stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of orange peel and a maraschino cherry. This will put hairs on your chest!
Hunter’s Cocktail (Serves 1)
25ml cherry brandy (Kirsch)
Maraschino cherry, to be used as garnish
1. In a tumbler glass, stir together well the whiskey and the cherry brandy. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Mulled Cider (Makes 3.5 pints)
1 litre of cider
½ litre ginger beer
Handful of cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
A glug of maple syrup/honey
50ml rum (optional)
1. Pour the cider and ginger beer into a large saucepan.
2. Add the spices, the orange, and the optional rum (Southern Comfort would be great here with its spiced warmth!)
3. Bring the mixture to the boil.
4. Once the mixture begins to bubble, turn the heat off and decant into a heatproof jug or simply ladle into heatproof mugs/glasses. I can’t tell you how much better Bonfire Night is with your hands wrapped around a glass of this!
Pumpkin Colada (Serves 1)
75ml pineapple juice
50ml coconut cream
10ml fresh lime juice
10ml pumpkin puree
1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
2. Add the Malibu, pineapple juice, coconut cream, lime juice, and pumpkin puree to the cocktail shaker.
3. Shake and strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice. Serve.
Have you tried any of these? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Letter to the Editor’!