13 Cocktails To Make This Fall

The leaves on the trees are turning into a kaleidoscope of warm colors, and there's a crispness to the air that hints at the coming fall season. The aroma of smoky grilled fare fades and is replaced by the scent of a slow-cooking stew, while margarita glasses take their place on the top shelf and mugs and highballs move to the front of the cabinet. It's time to bust out cozy sweaters and unwind with all the rich, spiced flavors of classic fall cocktails.

Whether you are a hot weather lover or prefer a winter wonderland, autumn is the Goldie Locks season that has something for everyone. It's not too hot or cold, and a new harvest of fall foods is ready to please palates growing weary of summer's bounty. New fruits and vegetables are ready to go from the field to the fall table: Root veggies like beets and carrots begin to grace menus alongside fruits like apples, figs, pumpkins, and pears. These flavors meet their match when paired with autumnal spirits like warm whiskey, icy vodka, and aged rum, enhanced by seasonal spices that bring a complex and classic fall flavor.

Whether you're planning a fall feast or just enjoying the brisk weather with an adult beverage break, we've rounded up a list of cocktails that have all the fall vibes you're craving for any occasion.

Apple Cider Hot Toddy

Jump into fall cocktail season with a steaming hot toddy upgraded with spiced apple cider. In our recipe, sweet apple cider is prepared with brown sugar, cinnamon, fresh ginger, and a kick of lemon before melding with the warm, earthy notes of bourbon. (And if you're not a whiskey fan, this apple cider toddy can alternatively be made with rum or cognac to suit your taste preferences.)

Best of all, the recipe can be easily increased for fall get-togethers and kept warm in the crockpot for piping hot refills.

Recipe: Apple Cider Hot Toddy

Pumpkin Spice Liqueur

Even the most pretentious cocktail snob would be impressed by a host offering drinks made with homemade liqueur.

In this recipe, neutral vodka serves as the blank slate for your flavoring pleasure, and this cocktail features the signature taste of pumpkin pie through its use of toasted clove, allspice, white pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The spirit steeps with the classic autumnal spices for two days before being combined with a pumpkin-spiced simple syrup that brings a touch of sweetness to the liqueur.

This homemade pumpkin spice liqueur tastes great on the rocks, in a mug, or mixed into a seasonal cocktail and is sure to knock guests' socks (or beanies) off.

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Liqueur

Classic White Russian

The snow came early this year in the form of a frosty white Russian cocktail fit for a cool fall day.

Dairy lovers get all the velvety richness of heavy cream with a coffee kick from Kahlúa (DIY it yourself if you're feeling extra) and a boozy bite of vodka. This recipe celebrates the simplicity of a classic White Russian with only three ingredients, proving that one doesn't need a long list of esoteric mixers or fancy bartending tricks to create a rich cocktail with complex layers of flavor. Shaken with ice to achieve maximum frostiness, this cocktail is served straight up into a chilled old-fashioned glass.

Recipe: Classic White Russian

Warm And Cozy Hot Toddy

Despite the origins of this cocktail being a bit hazy, there's one thing that's clear — there's nothing more warm and cozy on a cool fall evening than a classic Hot Toddy.

This piping hot cocktail is the go-to for warding off a chill and has alleged health benefits to boot. Whether it keeps the doctor away more than a daily apple is up for debate, but sweet honey, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and whiskey swimming in steaming hot water will surely soothe the body and palate. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and lemon slice, and cuddle up with a warm mug to cure what ails you.

Recipe: Warm And Cozy Hot Toddy

Gingered Pumpkin and Rum Cocktail

There's no need to reserve pumpkin butter's rich flavor and creamy texture for holiday baked goods and morning toast when you can so easily repurpose it in a mixed drink that satiates seasonal cravings. Mixologist Johnny Swet created this cocktail for Tasting Table with all the flavors of fall in mind, combining rich pumpkin butter, cinnamon, muddled ginger, and orange juice with a Caribbean kick from sweet aged rum. A few dashes of Angostura bitters add an herbal spice for a mixed drink that teems with warm, rich flavors.

Serve on the rocks and give it an occasional stir to keep the pumpkin butter from sinking to the bottom of the glass, but with all these delicious fall flavors, it's doubtful that guests will give it time to settle.

Recipe: Gingered Pumpkin And Rum Cocktail

Autumn Spice Sidecar

According to The Alcohol Professor, the Sidecar is a cocktail rooted in New Orleans alongside the Hurricane and Sazerac. In our autumnal variation on the classic, fall flavors hit the palate via the brown sugar rim spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice before being flooded by rich cognac spiked with the orange kick of Cointreau.

The color, aroma, and flavor of this cocktail — which hails from one of the most party-friendly cities in the U.S. — make this Autumn Spiced Sidecar a delight at fall get-togethers.

Recipe: Autumn Spice Sidecar

Boozy Cider Slushie

As some areas are still fairly hot in early fall, many drinkers craving a cooler climate end up sweating it out in their cozy sweaters hoping to be the change they want to see. Enter this adult slushie, which features the classic fall flavor of apple cider made better with booze.

Chef Kelly Fields created this drink for New Orleans restaurant Willa Jean, which was inspired by childhood memories drinking cider in the mountains of North Carolina. This take on apple cider is all grown up with bourbon, but still has the classic nostalgia-invoking flavors of autumn creatively provided by ginger beer and chai. Get warmed up by the aroma and flavor of fall spices while cooling down with the frosty goodness of slushed apple cider.

Recipe: Boozy Cider Slushie

Rum And Ginger Beer Cocktail

As the leaves on the trees begin to turn deep shades of brown, so does the liquor in our cocktails. And rightly so, as dark rum is an ideal fall spirit, featuring flavors of rich molasses, caramelized sugar, and warm spices.

This cocktail combines rum's smoky essence with sweet ginger beer to create an easy-sipping beverage that will satisfy your fall sweet tooth. The flavor is balanced by a bit of amaro that combines with a few dashes of orange bitters and a squeeze of lemon juice to cut the sweetness and add a wisp of an herbal undertone.

Our Rum and Ginger Beer Cocktail is a tasty way to enjoy deep, complex fall flavors, one sip at a time.

Recipe: Rum And Ginger Beer Cocktail

Pumpkin Spice Mai Tai

If pumpkin spice everything has you revolting against the popular fall flavor, give this innovative cocktail a try before giving up on the trend.

This Pumpkin Spice Mai Tai has a surprise in every sip, starting with spicy Sichuan pepper to bring heat to the classic pie spice blend. A few ounces of white rum, dry orange curaçao, nutty orgeat syrup, and absinthe are combined to create a spicy, sweet licorice flavor complimented by an essential squeeze of lime juice for a uniquely spirited cocktail.

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Mai Tai

Apple Pie Moonshine

Get your bootleg on while dusting off your cool weather shoes with this hard-hitting moonshine featuring the consummate fall flavors of apple pie.

Moonshine, an unaged corn whiskey that boasts a whopping 50% alcohol by volume, is not for the faint of palate. This recipe takes the alcohol content down to 25%, which is still impressive but won't leave you hung over until winter after just a few sips. Apple cider and juice combine with classic pie spices featuring strong hints of cinnamon and brown sugar to create a double-shot of harvest flavors that balance out the bite of the moonshine. The mixture steeps overnight before being strained and garnished with an apple slice.

Recipe: Apple Pie Moonshine

Pear Aperol Spritz

Pears are harvested in the fall, and there's no more refreshing way to celebrate their flavor and the incoming season than with this refreshing Pear Aperol Spritz.

Ripe pears are muddled with a hefty squeeze of lemon juice, sweet simple syrup, and vanilla extract to create the base for this bubbly beverage. Aperol is then paired with sweet Prosecco and effervescent club soda in classic spritz fashion. The light flavor of pear plays well with the bitter notes of the Italian spirit and the nose-tickling spritz of sparkling wine, altogether creating a delectable drink ideal for celebrating the transition from the heat of summer to the first crisp days of autumn.

Recipe: Pear Aperol Spritz

Doña Frida Tequila Cocktail

Welcome fall the Colombian way with this spiced tequila cocktail from the coastal city of Cartagena.

The unique drink is based on seasonally sweet plum jam spiced with cinnamon and mild, yet piquant, pink peppercorns. The flavors of the spiced jam are left to mingle for about 15 minutes before shaking things up with silver tequila, Cointreau, lemon juice, and a dash of orange bitters. Fine strain the mixture into a coupe glass, garnish with pink peppercorns, and enjoy the perfectly balanced flavors of sweet peppered plum, bitter orange, and piquant tequila to ring in the harvest season.

Recipe: Doña Frida Tequila Cocktail

The Headless Horseman

There's no trick to the adult treat helping fall fans celebrate the nearing end of autumn. This cocktail embodies the essence of Halloween, from its nod to a disembodied icon to its featured pumpkin flavor. Egg white is shaken to a froth before being mixed with velvety pumpkin butter, smoky bourbon, and citrusy triple sec to create a foamy, textural delight that is both light and rich all at once.

Strained into a classy martini glass, The Headless Horseman looks, smells, and tastes like a delectable fall holiday. After campaigning the neighborhood for candy, reward yourself with a pumpkin cocktail treat.

Recipe: The Headless Horseman