The 15 Best Cocktails to Enjoy This (and Every) Fall

In the stickiest, swampiest days of summer, we clutch sweating glasses of alcohol and try to lower our bodily temperatures from eight billion degrees to a more reasonable 98.6. That’s what summer cocktails are for: cooling down and counterbalancing the sun, whether that means an Aperol Spritz sipped on a bar patio (at a safe distance from others) or a blender full of Painkillers kept as company on an otherwise isolated August weekend.

Soon enough, summer will end and fall will begin. ACs will give way to space heaters. You may even celebrate the changing of the season with some overtly fall-ish apple cider cinnamon whiskey pumpkin juice mimosa thing. But short of an apple orchard and pumpkin patch, there are plenty of classic cocktails that taste like autumn—as much as a cocktail can taste like a season. They feel weightier and more robust, hinting at colder weather to come, and playing around with color and nuanced flavor. Many of them put whiskey front and center, although you’ll find a handful of gin, rum, and vodka admissions. All are good.

So gather your supplies ahead of time. These 15 fall cocktails will have you daydreaming about that soggy dead-leaf smell, soy candles with names like “wooded fir under a harvest moon,” and hearty meals of root vegetables.

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Godfather

As striking as the Godfather himself, this drink achieves a balance between strong-jawed single malt and nutty amaretto.

Ingredients
• 2 oz. scotch whisky
• 1/2 oz. amaretto

Directions
Stir the scotch and Amaretto well with cracked ice in a mixing glass. Strain over fresh ice into an Old Fashioned glass.

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Brain Duster

With three ounces of alcohol—one of those ounces being absinthe—yeah, this cocktail will absolutely give your brain a dusting off.

Ingredients
• 1 oz. rye whiskey
• 1 oz. absinthe
• 1 oz. Italian vermouth
• 1 dash Angostura bitters

Directions
Stir ingredients well with cracked ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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Negroni

There’s some quibbling over whether the Negroni is the ideal summer cocktail or better suited for the early days of autumn. Who cares; just drink it.

Ingredients
• 1 oz. London dry gin
• 1 oz. Campari
• 1 oz. vermouth rosso

Directions
Add the ingredients together in a mixing glass. Stir well with cracked ice. Strain into a glass over cubed ice. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.

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Boulevardier

To turn the Negroni in an unarguably autumnal direction, substitute whiskey for the gin and have yourself a Boulevardier.

Ingredients
• 1 1/2 oz. bourbon or rye whiskey
• 3/4 oz. Campari
• 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

Directions
Stir ingredients with ice in a mixing glass until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

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Cosmopolitan

Tart sweetness abounds in a Cosmo, enough to wake you out of a drizzly, dreary fall slump.

Ingredients
• 2 oz. vodka
• 1 oz. Cointreau
• 1 oz. cranberry juice
• 1 oz. Rose’s lime juice

Directions
Shake the ingredients in a shaker with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, then garnish with lime.

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The Last Word

Not the least bit timid in flavor is this perplexing but sublime balancing act of a cocktail—a holdout from Prohibition.

Ingredients
• 3/4 oz. gin (or genever)
• 3/4 oz. maraschino liqueur
• 3/4 oz. green Chartreuse
• 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice

Directions
Add all ingredients into a shaker. Shake well with cracked ice. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and Luxardo cherry.

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Manhattan

There’s isn’t much the daring and distinct character of a Manhattan can’t cure. Including the state of being sober.

Ingredients
• 2 oz. rye whiskey
• 1 oz. Italian vermouth
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Directions
Stir ingredients well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist or Luxardo cherries (or both).

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Airmail

The Airmail suits in-between weather well, as its rum, honey, lime, and brut champagne components will pull you in a few different directions.

Ingredients
• 2 oz. golden rum
• 1/2 oz. lime juice
• 1 tsp. honey
• 5 oz. Brut champagne

Directions
Stir rum, lime juice, and honey thoroughly with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker. Pour unstrained into a Collins glass. Top with champagne.

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Rob Roy

You know a Manhattan? A Rob Roy is the same but with scotch instead of rye or bourbon, lending the cocktail some smoke.

Ingredients
• 2 oz. blended scotch whisky
• 1 oz. Italian vermouth
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Directions
Stir the scotch, vermouth, and bitters well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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Mudslide

The spiritual brother to the White Russian, a Mudslide is more or less an alcoholic latte. Can’t complain about that.

Ingredients
1 oz. coffee liqueur
1 oz. vodka
1 1/2 oz. Irish cream liqueur

Directions
Combine coffee liqueur, vodka, and Irish cream liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shake for at least 10 seconds, then strain into a rocks glass over ice.

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Sidecar

Traditionally, a Sidecar is made with cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice; it’s been that way since the Roaring ’20s. This version upgrades it just a bit.

Ingredients
• 1 oz. cognac
• 1 oz. orange liqueur
• 1/2 oz. lemon juice
• 1/2 oz. simple syrup
• 1 splash lime juice

Directions
Sugar half the rim of a cocktail glass. Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker, and shake until chilled. Strain into the glass.

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Irish Coffee

On one of those miserable November afternoons, when the sleet and wind outside cut to the bone, sink into the warmth of a mug of steaming Irish coffee.

Ingredients
• 2 oz. Irish whiskey
• 5 oz. hot coffee
• 2 tsp. sugar
• heavy cream

Directions
Pour the whiskey, coffee, and sugar into a stemmed, heated glass mug. Stir, then top off with a thick layer of lightly whipped heavy cream. Don’t stir it in.

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Whiskey Sour

Tart and frothy, this whiskey cocktail cleanses the palate after a hearty, fall kind of meal. Choose bourbon for more sweet and rye for more spice.

Ingredients
• 2 oz. bourbon or rye
• 2/3 oz. lemon juice
• 1 tsp. superfine sugar
• 1/2 egg white

Directions
Shake the whiskey, juice, sugar, and egg white well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and/or lemon wedge.

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Dirty Martini

The chilling cold of winter calls for a bone-dry martini. But in fall’s murkier weather, don’t be shy about favoring the boldness of brine.

Ingredients
• 2 oz. gin
• 1/4 oz. extra dry vermouth
• 1/4 oz. olive juice
• green olives

Directions
Combine the gin, vermouth, and olive juice in a cocktail shaker and stir. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with as many olives as you’d like on a toothpick.

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Old Fashioned

The oldest and most popular whiskey cocktail of them all, the Old Fashioned is appropriate any season but particularly satisfying on a fall evening after a long day of getting shit done.

Ingredients
• 2 oz. rye or bourbon
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters
• 1 sugar cube
• club soda

Directions
Place the sugar cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Wet it down with Angostura bitters and a short splash of club soda. Crush the sugar with a wooden muddler, then rotate the glass so that the sugar grains and bitters give it a lining. Add a large ice cube. Pour in the whiskey, then garnish with an orange twist.

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Sarah Rense is the Associate Lifestyle Editor at Esquire, where she covers tech, food, drink, home, and more. 

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Source : Esquire