It’s always the season for sitting back with a drink in hand, but this fall is looking especially promising for cocktail lovers. Donna Letier, CEO/co-founder of Gardenuity and editor of The Sage, picked out her boozy fall favorites. This is her personalized list of the best fall cocktails — and there’s one for everyone.
For the Traditionalists: Rosemary Old Fashioned
This Rosemary Old Fashioned Cocktail is one of my all time fav fall cocktails. This recipe transforms a regular ole glass of whiskey into an elegant evening cocktail. Thanks to hints of woodsy, herbaceous rosemary and zesty orange bitters, you’ll be sipping on classy sweetness in no time!
- 4 tsp simple syrup
- 3 dashes of bitters
- 2 oz bourbon
- Rosemary Garnish
- Stir simple syrup and bitters in a glass.
- Add bourbon and ice cube. Stir.
- Garnish with rosemary, and enjoy!
For the Celebrators: Grapefruit & Sage Champagne
Champagne is made for celebrating. This chilled cocktail’s fizz contains delicious hints of tart citrus and warm, astringent sage. Light and refreshing, this fall cocktail will be the star of your celebration this fall.
For the simple syrup:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 bunches fresh sage leaves
For the cocktail:
- Pink grapefruit juice
- Sage simple syrup
- Angostura bitters
- Ice cubes
- Champagne or other sparkling white wine
- Fresh sage leaves
- To make the simple syrup, combine the sugar and water over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture starts to simmer and sugar is completely dissolved. Stir in the two bunches of fresh sage and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Set aside and let cool.
- Once the syrup is room temperature, remove and discard the sage. Transfer the simple syrup to a clean re-sealable container, and store it in your refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
- For a single cocktail, vigorously shake 3 oz (6 Tbsp) grapefruit juice, 1½ oz (3 Tbsp) of sage simple syrup, and 2-3 dashes of bitters in a shaker with ice. Strain into a glass with fresh ice.
- Top with ½ cup champagne.
- Garnish with fresh sage leaves and serve immediately.
For the Beer Lovers: Spicy Michelada
Beer lovers, I’ve got a cocktail for you — and just in time for football season. (No wonder it makes my favorite fall cocktails list!) The michelada is a traditional Mexican cerveza preparada and a way to add a little variety to the oldest alcohol in the world. We’ve added a bit of jalapeños and rim with chipotle sea salt for extra flavor. Serve it at game night or alongside your favorite weekend tacos!
Chipotle sea salt
- 2-3 jalapeno slices
- 1 oz Sauza Tequila
- 2 oz clamato juice
- ½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3-4 oz Mexican beer
- Pour chipotle sea salt on a saucer. Wet the rim of your glass, then carefully dip rim into salt, coating thoroughly. Set aside.
- Muddle jalapeño slices at bottom of your glass and add ice. Then pour in remaining ingredients and stir together until mixed.
- Garnish with lime and enjoy!
For the Teetotalers: Fizzy Rhubarb Mocktail
This is one of my favorites for family gatherings! Tangy and sweet, this is a bubbly mix that fulfills all your rhubarb dreams. It’s the perfect mocktail for when you want to relax with the kids and sip something sweet.
- 1 lb rhubarb, sliced into ¼ inch semicircles
- 2 cups light agave nectar
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- Sparkling water
- Sprigs of fresh thyme and kumquat slices for garnish
- To make syrup, combine sliced rhubarb and agave in a medium mixing bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 48-72 hours. Strain, reserving syrup. Add apple cider vinegar to the liquid. (More vinegar is tangier—adjust amount to your preference.) Transfer syrup to a lidded container, and keep in the refrigerator.
- Combining 3-4 portions sparkling water to 1 portion of syrup. Dilute or concentrate to your preference. Serve over ice.
- Garnish with kumquat slices and thyme!