Tell your bar guests to pour that pumpkin spice down the drain… yep, I said it. You’ve got something better that will beat a sugary latte any day.
What trumps the all-glorious PSL? Fall cocktails. That’s what.
These recipes are full of cozy feelings, warm colors, and seasonal spirits. Your guests will bring the sweaters. You bring the tasty, fall cocktails. With these scrumptiously spiced drinks, the harvest at your bar will be aplenty this season.
So, what is a good fall cocktail? Well, as Kevin Hart might say, “you gonna learn today!”
Our team of bartending gurus at Local Bartending School hunted and gathered the best fall cocktail recipes. They’re easy to make, simple, and even perfect for a fall event like weddings, Halloween bashes, Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving—you name it.
Thinking of going back to school? Bartending school, that is. We’re still open for enrollment this year! Reach out to learn more.
Or maybe you know so much you could be the teacher this year? Get the apple you deserve and join LBS as an instructor!
Fall Flavors, Cozy Bar, Happy Guests
To me, fall is all about feeling cozy. Create that feeling of warmth, what the Danish call ‘hygge’ (pronounced hoo-ga), at your bar this season.
Here are some ideas to bring some fall hygge to your guests:
- Decorate with fall accouterments like leaves, acorns, and pumpkins.
- Hang warm lights or use candles.
- Use food scents like cinnamon, vanilla, or maple.
15 of the Best, Simple Fall Cocktails and Recipes
1. Moscow Mule
Moscow Mules are one of my favorite drinks. The ginger beer is perfectly spiced and easy to sip on, any time of year.
But it’s fall and we’re craving all things that scream autumn. So are your guests! Luckily, mules are also easy to adapt for any palette.
Here are some fall flavors that work in mules:
- Apple cider
- Cinnamon (Try a cinnamon whiskey in a Kentucky Mule!)
Helpful Hint: New to bartending and have no clue how to use herbs in cocktails? Local Bartending School can show you herbs, flavors, and so much more in their bartending classes – at home, online, or wherever you are!
2. Forbidden Sour
The combo of pomegranate and lemon yields a fruity drink that’s light and refreshing – just like fall. A variation on a traditional whiskey sour, the Forbidden Sour is recommended for your whiskey drinkers who are just starting out.
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 1 ounce pomegranate liqueur
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- .5 ounce simple syrup
- Orange wheel, garnish
- Cherry, garnish
- In a shaker, combine the bourbon, pomegranate liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake well until cold. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Add an orange wheel and a cherry as garnish.
3. Apple Cider Sangria
You can’t go wrong with this fall Apple Cider Sangria! Give your guest all the size options! This brunchy fall cocktail is good by the pitcher or on its own.
- 1 bottle of house pinot grigio
- 5 cups apple cider
- 1 cup club soda
- .5 cup ginger brandy
- 3 honey crisp apples, chopped
- 3 pears, chopped
- Cinnamon sticks, garnish (optional)
- Combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Chill for at least an hour before serving. Pour over fresh rocks into a cinnamon-sugar rimmed glass (optional). If you want, use cinnamon sticks as a garnish.
4. Spiked Chai
Chai is like the less popular sister of pumpkin spice. Honestly, we think she’s equally delicious, especially at brunch or with a bit of bourbon. Here’s a cocktail recipe that’s perfect for those guests who aren’t super into pumpkin stuff but are still looking for a fall fix.
- 3 cups hot water
- 4 black tea bags
- 4 green cardamom pods crushed
- 4 whole allspice berries crushed
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 star anise
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- .5 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups vanilla almond milk
- .75 cup honey
- Combine water, tea bags, spices, ginger, and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add almond milk and honey, whisking to combine. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. To remove the bulk spices and tea bags, strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Use this for the base of your cocktail, store in the fridge when not in use! When it’s time to serve, heat the base and add one ounce of bourbon to the serving glass.
5. Toasted Pecan Old-Fashioned
Inspired by pecan pie, here’s another fall cocktail with bourbon that will have your entire bar wanting a slice.
But the real danger with this cocktail is getting into the heated debate of pronunciation. Tell us, do you say pea-can or pe-con?
- Infused Whiskey
- .5 cup pecans, toasted
- 5 cups whiskey
- 1 sugar cube
- 4 dashes Angostura bitters
- 2 ounces infused toasted pecan whiskey, recipe above
- Spherical Ice Cube
- Infused Whiskey: Bake pecans until brown and fragrant (at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes). Cool and transfer to an air-tight container. Pour whiskey over top and infuse for 3-4 days.
- To Serve: In a rocks glass, add sugar and bitters. Combine the sugar cube and bitters with a muddler, coating the sides of the glass. Pour the toasted pecan whiskey over a large rock and swirl to mix.
6. Jack O'Lantern
Let’s face it. Your guests are mostly just in it for the boo-ze. Unless you’re a really good bartender, of course.
Give them the treat you know they want – a fall Halloween cocktail that’s hauntingly good. And this cute pumpkin-looking drink is sure to do the trick.
- 1.5 ounces cognac
- .5 ounce brandy-based orange liqueur
- 1 ounce orange juice
- 2 to 3 ounces ginger ale
- Lime twist, garnish
- Orange wheel, garnish
- Shake the cognac, orange liqueur, and orange juice together in a cocktail shaker. Into an old-fashioned glass with ice, strain. Then add ginger ale. Add the lime twist to the top center of the orange wheel and float it over the drink.
7. Apple Cider Margarita
Sure, margaritas might typically be thought of as a summer cocktail. Not this time.
With a cinnamon sugar rim and apple cider base, the margarita just got a makeover that’s awesomely autumn.
- 2 ounces mezcal or silver tequila
- .5 ounce orange liquor
- 4 ounces (.5 cup) apple cider
- Juice from half a lime
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup use more or less to your taste
- Apple slices and cinnamon sticks, for serving
- Cinnamon sugar and flaky sea salt, for the rim
- Rim your serving glass with cinnamon sugar. Shake the mezcal or tequila, orange liquor, apple cider, lime juice, and maple in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain and garnish with apple rosemary, and cinnamon. Light your cinnamon to bring a smokey flavor and impress your guests.
8. Spiced Apple Fizz
I grew up in Indiana and we went to the apple orchard every year since we were kids. And honestly, this Spiced Apple Fizz reminds me of that yearly tradition! I hope your bar guests feel the same. All that’s missing are pumpkin-flavored donuts and a slightly uncomfortable hayride.
- 5 ounces vodka
- .5 ounces pear brandy
- .5 ounce lemon juice
- .5 ounce honey syrup
- Hard apple cider
- Apple slice, fanned for garnish
- Cinnamon, freshly grated for garnish
- In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine the vodka, pear brandy, lemon juice, and honey syrup. Shake until chilled. Then strain into a highball glass with fresh rocks. Add cider to top. Garnish with apple fan and cinnamon.
9. Tequila Caramel Apple Pie Cocktail
Caramel and apple pie come together for a fall drink that’s super easy to make. Perfect for a signature cocktail at a fall-themed wedding or event, the Tequila Caramel Apple Pie cocktail!
- 5 ounces blanco or reposado tequila
- .5 ounce butterscotch schnapps
- 1 ounce apple cider
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Apple slice, garnish
- Pour the tequila, butterscotch schnapps, apple cider, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice. Strain into a glass with fresh rocks. Then garnish with apple slices.
10. Pumpkin Sazerac
Sazeracs. They’re usually floral and fruity. No, no not today! We’re going pumpkins to the wall and bringing you a one-of-kind recipe, the Pumpkin Sazerac.
Have a regular constantly sippin’ on a sazerac? They have to try this variation before winter rolls around.
- 2 ounces cognac (or rye whiskey)
- .5 ounce pumpkin syrup
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- .25 ounce absinthe
- Lemon twist, garnish
- Syrup: Into a blender, place 16 ounces hot water, 3.5 cups granulated white sugar, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, and 20 sugar cube-sized lumps of freshly cooked pumpkin. Blend until smooth. Strain and toss solids. Refrigerate.
- To Serve: Chill a rocks glass for 15 minutes. Stir cognac (or rye whiskey), pumpkin syrup, and bitters for 30 seconds in a mixing glass with ice. Add the absinthe to the rocks glass and swirl it around, then discard the excess. Strain the drink into the glass. Using a swath of lemon peel, twist it over the glass, allowing the oils to be released into the drink.
11. Pumpkin Pie Martini
For this fall cocktail with pumpkin that’s perfect for dessert, no spoon is necessary! From the folks at the aptly named, No Spoon Necessary, this Pumpkin Pie Martini is perfect for guests who have a seasonal sweet tooth. The only question is… pumpkin or apple pie?
- 2 ounces pumpkin spice vodka
- 1 ounce dark rum
- .5 ounces half and half
- 2 tablespoon pumpkin puree
- 1 ounce maple syrup
- .25 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Get your garnish ready by crushing graham crackers and lining a martini rim (syrup will work!). Combine ice and ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously until the shaker is cold to the touch. Strain and pour into the martini glass. Top with nutmeg and cinnamon sticks.
12. Mulled Cider
Mulled cider, or wine, is one of those drinks that just tastes like fall. Plus, this fall cocktail is perfect for a crowd. You can even sell this by the pitcher or as a mocktail. So many options for this traditional treat!
- 5 quarts unfiltered sweet cider
- 12 allspice berries
- 12 whole cloves
- 2 sticks cinnamon, broken into pieces
- Bourbon or spiced rum
- Heat all ingredients, except the liquor, in a saucepan until the mixture is just below boiling. Remove from the heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Or microwave until hot, let steep.
- Remove and discard herbs and other solids. Add bourbon or spiced rum to serving glass and top with heated mixture. Garnish with cinnamon sticks or apples.
13. Bourbon Aperol Spritz
Here’s a fall cocktail with whiskey. The Aperol is perfect to bring out those orange flavors of fall!
- 5 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce Aperol
- .5 ounce simple syrup
- 1 orange wedge
- 3 ounces Prosecco
- Combine bourbon, Aperol, and simple syrup in a lowball glass filled with ice. Squeeze an orange wedge and add into glass. Top with Prosecco. Stir gently. Finish with an orange twist.
14. Change Of Address From Eric Nelson
Things can get crazy at the apple orchard. Your guests might not need another fall cocktail! And sometimes, a mocktail is the answer.
Of course, we love a good mocktail recipe! I’ve had plenty of patrons come to my bar and ask for a drink with no boozy for plenty of reasons. It’s always good to have one ready to whip out.
Here’s a recipe that Buddy the Elf would definitely approve of.
- .75 ounce lemon juice
- .75 ounce maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 3 ounces Coca-Cola
- Freshly grated cinnamon, garnish
- Shake the lemon juice, maple syrup, and soy sauce together in a cocktail shaker. After adding the Coca-Cola, double strain the mixture into a Collins glass with crushed ice. Garnish with grated cinnamon.
Keep things going for the long fall with a sessionable manhattan recipe. This traditional cocktail is perfect for crisp autumn days.
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- .75 ounce rye whiskey
- .75 ounce amontillado sherry
- .5 ounce dry vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Maraschino cherry, garnish
- Stir all ingredients together in a mixing glass until chilled. Into a coupe, strain and garnish with a lemon twist and maraschino cherry.
Cozy Fall Cocktails For the Win
If you came here looking for apple cider cocktails to make your bar guests and friends feel like they’re at the pumpkin patch or an apple orchard and not inside at a bar top or fall event, now you have a few options.
Bar owners, are your bartenders like a scarecrow when it comes to a complicated cocktail recipe? Give them the brains they need. Local Bartending School can get your whole team ready for the upcoming holiday season. Plus, everyone gets certified along the way.