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Fall Cocktail Ideas

I'm making my first dinner party of the fall season, and would love some cocktail ideas to go with our pre-meal snacks. I'm serving stilton, grapes and walnuts and was hoping to pair this with a cocktail before we go into our meal (where we'll be drinking lots of wine)

My guests and I prefer brown liquor (or, gasp, vodka) and nothing too sweet, but I'm really open to anything. I love herb-y cocktails like the rosemary gin fizz on Food and Wine's website.

Any ideas?

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  1. There's always a Manhattan! If you're looking for something herb-y, try Lillet. If you're not familiar, it's a French aperitif that comes from the Bordeaux region. They have a white and a red, both are absolutely excellent. They take very well to fruit additions like a slice of orange and I think it would go quite well with your snacks. Take the red, toss in some seltzer and a squeeze of orange and garnish with mint! It should be in the fortified wine section of your liquor store. I think whatever you do should be pre-poured in a large pitcher or carafe without ice. Let the guests pour what they want. If you have left over cocktail, now it won't be water logged and you can enjoy it yourself for a couple more evenings!

    1. I'm going to bring up the cocktail I've been pumping over here that is the perfect fall cocktail, especially if you like brown liquor.

      3 parts bourbon (Woodford or Buffalo Trace preferred, nothing less than Maker's)
      1 part maple syrup
      1 part lemon juice

      Shake over ice and then pour over ice. Serve with a lemon twist.

      It's a mapleleaf. It isn't too sweet, but has the right amount of kick. Plus maple is in right now.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jpschust

        I am a fan of Evan Williams Single Barrel with a very vanilla nose. Sounds like it would be prefect in that.

        1. re: Candy

          It's an awesome choice, but might be a touch pricey for a mixed drink. That said, run with it :)

      2. Ooo! That sounds good. I just bought some maple syrup the other day. Now all I need is to replenish my Maker's supply. I just about finished it off when I was on my Maker's and Blenheim ginger ale kick.

        3 Replies
        1. re: HaagenDazs

          Makers and Ginger is a favorite of mine. Let me suggest you spend just a few dollars more and get some woodford reserve for this one- the sweetness of the woodford will help this drink out a touch.

          1. re: jpschust

            Sounds like a deal! I'll buy the Woodford if you agree to seek out some Blenheim. Have you had it before? It's out of South Carolina... and out of this world delicious.

            1. re: HaagenDazs

              I'll certainly give it a shot. I'm wondering if I can find it at Harris Teeter around here since they stock a lot of the more southern regional products.

        2. It's hard to find yet sometimes found in the strangest of places. I've heard it's been found at Restoration Hardware in Seattle, for example. They do mail order, but it's not the cheapest to ship a case of 12 oz bottles through the mail. Do a Goggle search, you'll find something ;-)

          1. Sometimes I buy a good apple cider and mix it about half and half with a dark spiced rum (or use less rum, to your taste). Warm it up in a mug in the microwave and it's a nice seasonal drink.

            1. here's a real fall cocktail for ya. it's fairly new, first published in 1982, and has a very clean flavor, very reminicent of fall. It's called Fallen Leaves:
              3/4 oz calvados(apple brandy)
              3/4 oz sweet vermouth
              1/4 oz dry vermouth
              lemon peel

              stir w/ ice, giving the lemon peel a good hard twist, strain into a cocktail glass, using the peel for garnish. Very tasty!

              1. Pumpkin Pie
                2 parts Absolut Vanila vodka
                1 part pumpkin schnapps
                Splash of cream (or substitute a splash of orange juice)
                Nutmeg

                1. I.m trying a mapleleaf tonight! I have Maker's, maple and...oh no, can I substitue lime?

                  1. Me again. I went to the store, got a lemon, came home, shook up a mapleleaf and didn't care for it. Oh well... the hit and miss of cooking. I guess I like my Maker's up or on the rocks!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ergozum

                      The big key here is cutting it correctly- it's easy to overdo the maple syrup on this one or the lemon. It's not for everyone, but now you can use the lemon juice for making artichokes, the maple syrup for pancakes and the bourbon for well...bourbon.

                    2. I have to try the Maple Leaf. Also wanted to suggest the Cable Car -- a big hit at our wedding last year:

                      4 parts spiced rum
                      2 parts Cointreau
                      1 part lemon juice

                      combined in shaker and serve straight in a cinnamon-sugar rimmed glass. not as sweet as you might think - more spicy, especially if you go easy on the sugar and add more cinnamon.

                      1. Thanks for the cocktail ideas- I'm thinking we'll serve either Maple Leaf or Fallen Leaves (hmm, or Cable Car) for Tgiving cocktails this year.