With the change of the seasons, even our taste buds begin to crave different flavors – pumpkin spice latte, anyone? Try one of these tasty fall cocktail recipes full of spices, fall fruits, autumnal ingredients, and our favorite liquors.
What Makes a Fall Cocktail?
Whether it's an association in our mind out of habit or something in our genes, once crisp autumn afternoons replace those warm summer breezes, we start to crave different flavored foods. Gone are the in-season fresh berries, fruits, and veggies of summer, leaving warm spices, heartier produce, and gourds.
The best fall cocktails find a way to blend these more robust flavors seamlessly for a balanced, delightful beverage that will instantly warm your insides on those chilly autumn evenings.
What's the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink?
Our list of the best fall cocktails is a little different from a typical fall mixed drink. Though mixed drinks and cocktails have similar ingredients, a cocktail usually contains at least three ingredients, while a mixed drink has just two – a spirit and a mixer.
We created our list of fall alcoholic drink recipes with cocktails in mind, as they offer a little more complexity than mixed drinks with perfectly balanced flavors.
8 Best Fall Cocktail Recipes to Try at Home
#1: Caramel Apple Martini
This is the epitome of classic fall vodka cocktails. It offers the sweetness of spiced apple cider mixed with caramel-flavored spirits and served up in a cinnamon sugar-rimmed martini glass.
- 2 oz. apple cider
- 2 oz. caramel vodka
- 1 oz. butterscotch schnapps
- Sliced fresh apple
- Cinnamon sugar
- Rim your martini glass with a little water or apple cider, then dip it into cinnamon sugar.
- Combine the apple cider, caramel vodka, and butterscotch schnapps along with ice in your cocktail shaker, then shake vigorously for 30 secs.
- Strain and pour the vodka mixture into the rimmed martini glass, finishing with a slice of fresh apple for garnish.
- Serve and enjoy your caramel fall cocktails!
#2: Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour
Bourbon sours make perfect fall alcoholic drinks, especially when paired with savory rosemary and dark, rich maple syrup.
- 3 oz bourbon
- 1 ½ oz fresh lemon juice
- ¾ oz dark amber maple syrup
- 1 large sprig rosemary
- 2 small rosemary sprigs to garnish
- Crush your large rosemary sprig by hand and toss it into your cocktail shaker.
- Add the bourbon, lemon, maple syrup, and a generous scoop of ice. Close the lid and shake vigorously for 15 secs.
- Strain and pour the mixture into two rocks glasses filled with ice, garnishing with the small rosemary sprigs.
#3: Caramel Pear Hard Cider
If you're looking for fall cocktail recipes for your next party, look no further! This caramel pear cider makes a batch big enough for entertaining guests and will fill your house with heavenly aromas as it simmers on the stovetop.
- 1 64-oz container pure apple cider
- 2 12-oz bottles hard pear cider, like Angry Orchard
- 1/2 c. caramel syrup
- 2 Tbsp mulling spices
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 c. pear liqueur
- Sliced pear
- Cinnamon sticks to garnish
- Fill a spice bag with your mulling spices. Add the apple cider, hard pear cider, caramel syrup, mulling spices, and cinnamon sticks to a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan, then stir to combine.
- Heat the mixture over medium-low heat. Cover and simmer for 1 hr.
- Uncover the pot, then remove the bagged mulling spices.
- Right before serving, stir in the pear liqueur, pear slices, and a cinnamon stick in each mug.
- Serve immediately while still warm. Keep covered and set on low heat until ready to serve.
#4: Apple Honey Mulled Wine
Make a pot of mulled white wine to serve these easy fall cocktails warm from the stovetop. Mulling spices pair well with dry white wine, fresh orange, and apple slices, along with some tasty apple cider.
- 2 Tbsp mulling spices
- 1 750 ml bottle dry white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc
- 4 c. apple cider
- 1/3 c. raw honey
- 1 orange, sliced
- 2 apples, sliced
- Cinnamon sticks for garnish
- Fill a spice bag with your mulling spices. Place the bagged spices, wine, cider, and honey in a slow cooker or heavy-bottomed saucepot.
- Stir to combine, then cover the mulled wine pot and simmer on low for 2-3 hrs.
- Uncover the pot and remove the bagged spices. Discard them.
- Right before serving, stir in the orange and apple slices.
- Serve immediately while still warm, keeping any leftovers covered on low heat for refills.
- Optional: Add ½ oz of spiced rum or bourbon to your cup before serving.
#5: Spiced Mexican Hot Chocolate
Spiced Mexican hot chocolate makes for one of the best warm fall drinks, turned into even better autumn cocktails with the addition of some dulce de leche and bourbon. This decadent drink makes an excellent caffeine-free, after-dinner dessert drink!
- 4 c. whole milk
- 2 c. half-and-half cream
- 1/2 c. dulce de leche
- 10 oz. 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 c. bourbon
- Whisk the whole milk, half-and-half, dulce de leche, and cinnamon sticks in a large-sized saucepan.
- Bring the dairy mixture to a simmer on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring often. Once simmering, remove the mixture from the heat, cover, and leave for 10 mins.
- Return the milk-based mixture to a simmer over medium heat, gradually whisking in the dark chocolate chunks. Stir until the dark chocolate chunks are melted and smooth.
- Remove your hot chocolate from the heat and add your pure vanilla extract, sea salt, and bourbon. Discard the cinnamon sticks.
- Serve warm, and enjoy one of the best fall cocktails in a big mug!
#6: Pear Cinnamon Red Sangria
We think of sangria as a refreshing summer drink, but you can easily adjust the ingredients to make one of the best fall drink recipes with Honeycrisp apples, pears, and pomegranate.
- 1 bottle of light-bodied red wine, like Rioja
- 2 c. apple cider
- 1/2 c. pear or apple brandy
- 1/4 c. cinnamon simple syrup
- 1 Honeycrisp apple, cored and chopped
- 1 green pear, cored and chopped
- 1/2 orange, quartered and sliced
- Seeds from one pomegranate, roughly 1/2 c.
- 3 or 4 cinnamon sticks
- Combine all ingredients in a large-sized drink pitcher – red wine, apple cider, brandy, cinnamon syrup, apple, pear, orange, and pomegranate.
- Cover and place the pitcher in the fridge for at least 4 hrs or overnight.
- Pour over ice in a wine glass, adding a cinnamon stick for garnish.
- Serve and enjoy one of the best fall cocktails!
#7: Pumpkin Old-Fashioned
Try a spin on a classic to make one of the best fall cocktails around – an old-fashioned with some real pumpkin, maple, and black walnut bitters.
- 2 ½ oz. bourbon
- 2/3 oz. pure maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin purée
- 1-2 dashes of black walnut bitters
- Orange peel
- Cinnamon stick
- Bourbon cherry
- Combine bourbon, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, and walnut bitters in a cocktail shaker with a big scoop of ice.
- Shake the mixture vigorously for 20 secs.
- Add ice to a rocks glass, straining the old-fashioned into the glass.
- Squeeze the orange peel over the top of the glass to release the peel's oils, then rub it around the rim.
- Garnish the drink with a small twisted orange peel, cinnamon stick, and bourbon-soaked cherries.
#8: Apple Cinnamon Hot Toddy
One of the best fall cocktails doesn't just taste great – this apple cinnamon hot toddy can soothe sore throats, too. The cinnamon whisky and bourbon give this drink a bite without being overpowering.
- 1 apple, chopped
- 3 c. water
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 black tea bag
- 3 oz. bourbon
- 1 oz. cinnamon whisky
- Add the chopped apple, cinnamon, water, cinnamon sticks, and maple syrup to a medium-sized saucepan.
- Bring the apple cinnamon mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, simmering for 3 mins to soften the apples.
- Remove the hot saucepan from the burner and add the black tea bag. Let it steep for 3 mins, then remove the teabag.
- Pour into a mug and serve warm!
Final Notes on Fall Cocktails
These fall cocktails all have something a little different to offer – some are sweet, while others are sour or heavily spiced.
If you prefer your drinks less sweet, adjust any syrups or sugars added as you'd like, then taste before serving.
One easy way to dress up chilled fall cocktails is with an ice ball maker – it makes crystal clear cubes that make your drinks look extra impressive.
Enjoy your tasty fall cocktails!