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Fall Into Autumn with These Four Cocktails

Preserve summer fruit in your drinks, or embrace the warm, comforting flavors of fall.

It only started to feel like fall here on the Central Coast, but it's already November and perhaps time to shelve the tequila and rum until next summer.

With the holidays coming, I did some research on fall cocktails, hoping to impress guests accustomed to uncorking a bottle of Pinot Noir or bringing a six-back of Jubelale, a magical seasonal beer from Oregon's Deschutes Brewery. (Though, friends, I wouldn't turn down either.)

Autumn-infused cocktails read like a list of girly bath products or the spice aisle at a grocery store, but the drinks also display rich, fresh flavors that are sure to brighten up the darker, colder nights coming our way.

Here are my four favorites:

1. Blackberry Ginger Mojito So maybe you're not quite ready to let go of summer. Take those summer berries (hopefully you froze some blackberries, raspberries or olallieberries) and cook them down into a simple syrup. Standing Stone Brewery in Ashland, OR, shared directions for making the syrup on its blog. This is the brewery's mojito recipe:

Fresh Mint, 3-4 large leaves, chopped
½ Lime, cut into small slices
1 ½ oz. Bacardi Light Rum
½ oz. Canton Ginger Liqueur
Blackberry Simple Syrup
Soda Water

Standing Stone also shared a harvest-y recipe for a Pear Gin Smash made with home-infused pear gin.

2. Apple-Pie Spiced Cider Breathing in the smell of fresh apple juice (or cider—did you know they're the same thing?) might just be the unofficial start of fall. Martha Stewart must know that, because she has this body-warming recipe for cider-and-brandy cider. The best part is her portions are to make it for the whole party, not just one mug.

1 1/4 quarts apple cider
3 tablespoons firmly packed light-brown sugar
7 whole cinnamon sticks, (6 sticks for garnish)
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Ground cloves
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt
1/2 cup Calvados, or other brandy (optional)

The complete directions for concocting the drink are here.

3. Holy Basil Vanilla Twist A Southern California restaurant shared this drink with Westwood-Century Cith Patch. (Thanks!) The Grey Goose-based drink blended with vanilla and spice, Thai basil and fresh lime.

4. Pumpkin Patch When my Patch colleagues come by, it couldn't hurt to make a little joke about  our jobs with this cocktail. The Rhode Show, a TV news program in Rhode Island, shared this cocktail:

2 oz Pumpkin Infused Sobieski Vanilla Vodka
1 oz Bacardi Oakheart
.5 oz St. Elizabeth All Spice Dram
fresh sweet cream topping
cinnamon sprinkle

Didn't spot your favorite liquor in these recommendations? Huffington Post also has a broad selection of fall cocktail recipes.

And, remember, a flavorful local wine, cold beer or just a glass of Martinelli's Sparking Cider also will warm up a fall get-together.

What are your favorite autumn cocktails? Share a recipe or tip in the comment section below.

David H. Perez November 08, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Wow, Jennifer, these recipes sound great. Time to break out the bartending tools!
Jennifer Squires November 08, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Thanks! I'm sure you have some of your own to add to the mix. I'd love to hear it!
David H. Perez November 08, 2012 at 06:42 PM
@Jennifer - Around the holidays we usually brew up our favorite recipe for hot mulled wine. I picked up this recipe in the late 1980's by Daniel Mirassou of the original family-owned Mirassou Winery when it was in San Jose. 3 cups water 1/2 cup sugar 1 cinnamon stick 12 whole cloves Zest of 1 lemon Simmer these ingredients together for 10 minutes, then add: 1 cup brandy 2 - 750 ml bottles of a good dry red wine DO NOT BOIL. Just bring to coffee temperature. This stores well in a corked wine bottle for several months, and can be re-warmed.
David H. Perez November 08, 2012 at 06:54 PM
@Jennifer - But actually Jennifer, I rarely drink "sweet" drinks (or mixed drinks at all for that matter), but sometimes a good old hard core martini tastes great. My favorite martini recipe was enjoyed by James Bond in the movie "Casino Royale" (based on Ian Fleming's 1953 novel "Casino Royale"). I tasted a "James Bond Martini" once at a nice hotel, and loved it. I proceeded to spend hours looking over the script of the movie on line, and actually found the recipe. Here it is: 3 oz. Gordon's gin 1 oz. vodka 1/2 oz. Lillet In a martini shaker, shake well with ice. Garnish with a thin slice of lemon zest.

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