Summer is nearing a close and that means putting away the margaritas and wine spritzers and looking toward other ways to bring the best of the season to the home bar.
Mixologists are increasingly following the lead of seasonal food menus from restaurants and adjusting their drinks offerings with seasons and as certain ingredients become available. Just as you should eat with the seasons, drinking with the seasons is a great way to update your parties and gatherings.
Ease Your Transition
Just because it’s early in autumn doesn’t mean you need to make Pumpkin Spice punch. If the weather is still conducive to sitting outside or the temperature is still in the teens to twenties, consider updating the drinks you already love. Add raspberries and blueberries to your margarita recipes. Make your Caesars spicier or add in seasonal pickled vegetables. Even Sangria can be transitioned by adding seasonal fruits and adding a touch of spice (nutmeg and allspice are nice ones to start with.)
Dark Liquors Come Out To Play
Whiskey, Dark Rum and Bourbon might not be the first things you reach for in the summer when tequila, gin, and vodka are everywhere, but changing your base liquor is a great way to add autumnal heft to your drinks.
Great classics you can play with are the Dark and Stormy ( experiment by adding spicy ginger beer and a splash of pie spice, or spicy dark rum for the garden variety,) the Old Fashioned (it’s a classic for many reasons, but one of those is its versatility. Try some deep berry bitters or counter balance the orange flavor with a tiny pinch of star anise and cloves. Even a bourbon sour can be made autumnal by changing up the citrus in the sour base to blood oranges, pomelo, or ruby red grapefruit.
Don’t Forget Your Vegetables
It might seem dated to think about vegetable juice bases for drinks, but with the success of juicing recently, it’s easier than ever to get your hands on great vegetable juices that you can use as a base on their own, or combine to make seasonal cocktails. Gin pairs exceptionally well with this, as does pepper vodka.
Apple Cider and Beyond
The base a lot of us think about when we think autumnal drinks is apple cider, but with hard cider becoming the hottest trend, cider tails can be a crowd pleaser. Apple cider can be served in drinks either chilled or warm, so think about apple cider sangria as a fall punch option.
Don’t stop at apple cider, either. Pear ciders are hitting their tipping point and are incredible when served with rum, tequila, and even sake.
Celebrations don’t stop when the temperature drops, so don’t keep serving the same summer drinks until Christmas. Autumn is a great transitional time to introduce yourself and your future party guests to some great seasonal ingredients and some lesser used liquors and drink bases. Don’t forget to look at seasonal accoutrements for drinks too.