Fall is quickly approaching (it officially begins on September 22) and here at the Plus Side we are hard at work formulating our fall cocktail recipes. As the scouts say, “be prepared.” Fall is a difficult season to prepare for as early fall can be hotter than summer in many parts of the country but by fall’s conclusion the holiday season will be nearly over. The sneaky nature of fall is why we have decided to prepare a set of cocktails specifically for early fall with a companion article on late fall cocktail recipes to follow sometime in October/November. Now, without further ado, here are the 3 coolest cocktails to wow your friends this (early) fall season.
Champagne cocktails are a timeless classic, often savored during the dog days of summer. They can combine the refreshing nature of sparkling wine with the surprising and fun flavors of spring and summer fruit like strawberries, cassis or peach. In this modern twist on a classic, I add cognac and honey syrup to a dry sparkling champagne to bring in warm vanilla, caramel and honey notes without losing the lightness that the sparkling wine provides. This drink is a chameleon that can be savored as much on a hot September afternoon as it can be on a frigid November evening.
Alternate: If you like the standard but want to try something a little different I recommend replacing the cognac with a high quality Kirschwasser, which will add some interesting cherry and nut flavors to the drink.
Honey Syrup: Combine 1 part filtered water with 1 part honey and heat until the honey is dissolved.
One of my favorite fall fruits is the decadent and hearty fig. The fig tree was perhaps the first plant cultivated by man and it isn’t hard to figure out why. The trees are hearty and the fruit is delicious. Most people don’t think of figs when they think of cocktails because it can be a hard ingredient to work with. Figs don’t juice easily and the tiny seeds/pulp don’t make for an attractive cocktail. With the fig daiquiri we’ve created a fall cocktail recipe that solves these problems by extracting the fig flavor before constructing our drink. The fig daiquiri strikes a perfect balance between the earthy sweetness of the figs and the refreshing nature of the classic tropical rum daiquiri.
Fig Syrup: Cut 2 large figs into quarters and place them in a small saucepot. Add 1 cup of sugar and 1.5 cups of water. Cook the mixture over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup reaches boiling. Turn the heat down and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 more minutes. Set the syrup aside to cool. Once the syrup reaches room temperature strain the syrup through a mesh strainer to remove the fig pulp. The fig syrup will keep in your refrigerator for several days.
The humble grape is one of the most beloved fall fruits. Kids love grapes because they’re an easy to eat sweet snack and adults love grapes for the wine that they make possible. While grapes are a fall fruit, we don’t associate them with traditional warm spicy fall flavors like we do plums and pumpkins. This makes the grape a perfect early fall cocktail addition. In the G&G we combine the sweet berry flavors of concord grape juice with the refined and herbaceous notes that a solid gin provides. The lemon juice offers a nice counterpoint to the sugary grape juice, which keeps this drink from being cloyingly sweet. Drink this at a picnic or barbeque and the bright purple color will make you feel like a kid again!
Let us know how you like our recipes. If you tweak one of our recipes and make it better, we may feature it as one of our late fall cocktail recipes!