My favorite indulgence after one of these icy, sniffle-inducing slogs is a warming, autumn-inspired cocktail. While it’s easy to fall into a rut with seasonal cocktails, I find that one or two new ingredients on my bar encourages me to explore a bit and keeps me from getting bored. Lately, I’ve been playing around with apple cider syrup and a few new bottles of bitters. Below are two fall cocktail recipes—one that’s somewhat involved and one that’s easy to throw together. Just add a crackling fire, a warm woolen sweater and a few friends and you have the perfect recipe for a relaxing fall evening.
The Fall Guy Toddy
2 oz. applejack or apple brandy (bourbon would be fine, too)
3-4 oz. near-boiling water
1 oz. apple cider syrup
½ baked apple (a tart one—Granny Smith works fine)
2-3 dashes blackstrap or cardamom bitters
In a heavy mixing glass, muddle the cider syrup with the bitters and the baked apple half. Add hot water and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. For a rustic, somewhat chewy drink, add applejack or apple brandy and pour into a heated mug. For a less-pulpy version, double-strain into a mug after adding the hot water, then stir in the booze. Grate a little nutmeg on top, then garnish with an orange twist or an apple slice. A cinnamon stick wouldn’t be out of place, either.
To make the cider syrup, boil a gallon or half gallon of apple cider (the real stuff, not the mislabeled apple juice you find on supermarket shelves) until it’s reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon (this will take several hours). Bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The Black Walnut Old Fashioned
2 oz. rye or bourbon
½ oz. walnut liqueur—I like Nux Alpina Black Walnut Liqueur, but any Nocino works
1 Tbsp. rich simple syrup
1-2 dashes Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
1 dash aromatic bitters
In a mixing glass, muddle syrup and bitters until thoroughly combined. Add spirits and ice, then stir until chilled. Strain into a double old-fashioned glass prepared with a single large ice cube or sphere. Garnish with an orange twist.
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