Sure, it’s hard to exchange a very sunny summer for fall’s less-bright horizons. But think of all the fun fall highlights:pretty leaves fluttering in the breeze, soft and warm autumn sweaters and, of course, the following five drinks. Each of these is bound to make you enjoy fall a little more—even if they might not completely make you forget summer.
This was created by magical Portland drink-slinger Jeffrey Morganthaler. It’s delicious, inventive, and a wonderful complement to the season. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add 3/4 ounces rye (Jeffrey suggests Wild Turkey, but Woodinville Whiskey rye is good, too), 3/4 ounces Clear Creek apple brandy, 3/4 ounces Carpano Antica, 1/4 ounce Strega, and 2 dashes cinnamon tincture. Stir well. Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice cubes. Strain the mix into the glass and garnish with a wide orange peel. A Note: To make the cinnamon tincture, soak 4 ounces whole cinnamon sticks in 16 ounces grain alcohol or vodka for 3 weeks. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any solids, and then store in a glass bottle away from sunlight.
Though fall isn’t always cold, a good warmer is important for any fall drink menu. Purl’s been used in this capacity for many, many years. The great novelist Charles Dickens was a big fan and Purl shows in many of his books, including as an inscription, “The Early Purl House,” on the bar in the book Our Mutual Friend. This recipe’s from Good Spirits: Add 6 ounces porter, 6 ounces ale, and 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger to a small saucepan. Heat over medium-heat until warm but not boiling. Carefully pour the porter-ale mixture into a pint glass that has been slightly warmed (by running it under warm water). Add 1 ounce gin (Voyager would be nice, as it’s a London-style gin) and stir. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg over the top.
Because it's the precursor to the long, cold months of winter, fall demands a good dose of Perseverance. Preferably via this recipe from Wine Cocktails: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add 1 ounce vodka, 2 ounces dry rosé wine, 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur, and 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters. Shake well. Strain equally into two cocktail glasses (because there’s no need to go through the cold alone).
Empress’ New Clothes
The changing of seasons doesn’t only mean a change in temperature—it also calls for a new wardrobe, one that protects a bit more from the elements. You’ll need a drink to go along with the fresh duds, and this beer cocktail fits that bill admirably. It’s from the book Beer Cocktails. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add 1 ounce bourbon, 1 ounce Drambuie, 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier, and 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice and shake well. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass. Top with 2 ounces Russian imperial stout and add a dash of orange bitters.
Fall is also the season of basketball, so I always have a Supersonic (using the recipe from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz) when the first jump ball is jumped for. I used to have it a bit wistfully, while thinking of Gary Payton, but this year I’m raising my glass hopefully and in honor of Chris Hansen. To make, fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add 1-1/2 ounces gin (a local one, naturally, such as Sun Liquor’s Hedge Trimmer), 1 ounce green Chartreuse, 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, and 1/4 ounce simple syrup. Shake as if you were dribbling the ball extra hard. Strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze a lemon twist over the drink and then swish it into the glass.
Supersonic photo copyright 2011, Harvard Common Press and Jerry Errico.