Fall is kind of notorious for its delicious food. Maybe Thanksgiving gets credit for making pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce a staple of seasonal eating during fall, but there are tons of ways to get creative with the season's bounty. One of my favorite ways is to make cocktails!
If you are having a dinner party or some friends over this fall, red wine might be fine, but why stay simple when you could get seasonal? Some of the classic flavors of fall can make some seriously delicious cocktails that are sure to wow your guests.
The taste of the woods
For a woodsy flavor that will evoke drives through Vermont's covered bridges to find the best maple syrup, try Martha Stewart's Fall Signature Cocktail. This blend of applejack and rye whiskey tastes extra seasonal with a few dashes of orange bitters and champagne - perfect for a classy cocktail affair. It will look extra festive garnished with some strips of blood orange rind.
Recipe for two:
3 ounces applejack
3 ounces rye whiskey
2 tablespoons maple syrup
A few dashes of orange bitters
4 ounces champagne
Blood orange rind
Combine applejack, whiskey, maple syrup and bitters in a cocktail shaker, then shake over ice. Then, strain into a six-ounce glass of your choosing and top with champagne before garnishing with the blood orange.
Sipping on cider
Cider is the quintessential fall beverage, and you can make it into some of the best cocktails. I love using bourbon in fall cocktail recipes - something about it is just so woodsy and autumnal! Martha Stewart's Cider Bourbon Cocktail is a delicious blend of apple cider, bourbon and lemon juice, with fresh peeled ginger to give it a kick. Thinly slice some fresh apples for a garnish that is pretty as it is tasty.
Recipe for two:
¾ cup apple cider
? cup bourbon
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 long, thin slices of fresh-peeled ginger
2 thin slices of apple
Shake the cider, bourbon, lemon juice and ginger in a cocktail shaker with ice, then strain into two coupes before garnishing with the apples.
A merry martini
Maybe you're looking for the best martini to warm you up on a fall night? Better Homes & Gardens offers a tart recipe using a fall favorite - cranberries. This martini stands out from a plain old Cape Codder cocktail in that it is made with vanilla sugar to cut the tartness of cranberries, and the vodka is homemade. Spear some cranberries instead of olives for a cute garnish on this drink!
To make the vodka:
1 bottle high-quality vodka
1 cup cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
Combine sugar, water and cranberries in a saucepan, bring them to boiling and stir until sugar dissolves, then continue to cook until the cranberries start to burst. Remove from heat, let cool for 30 minutes and strain, setting the cranberries and liquid aside. Then, combine the vodka, the reserved strained cranberries and ? cup of the liquid. Cover this mixture and freeze it for three days.
Drink recipe for two:
½ cup cranberry vodka, cranberries strained out
Vanilla sugar for rims of glasses (make your own by adding a vanilla bean to a quart of sugar and sealing for several weeks)
Dip the rims of martini glasses in water then in a plate covered with the vanilla sugar, then set aside. Shake the cranberry vodka in a cocktail shaker over ice, then strain into martini glasses. Spear three or four cranberries on small skewers and add to the drinks for a classy garnish.