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Six Fall Cocktails to Heat Up Your Next Happy Hour

‘Tis the season for booze and boos, so we asked a few of our area’s expert mixologists to share their favorite fall cocktails. From an autumnal twist on the classic whiskey sour to a not-so-basic pumpkin spice spirit, here are a few seasonal beverages to wrap you in a boozy blanket.

diVine Lounge: Pumpkin Manhattan

2 ounces of bullet rye, an ounce of sweet vermouth, 1 teaspoon of pumpkin puree and five 5 dashes of aromatic bitters.

Warm, smooth and a little spicy, the pumpkin manhattan from diVine is the work of lead bartender Sammie Fautua. Sammie got in the bar game about five years ago while living in Wakiki, Hawaii. She’s been the bar manager at diVine since they opened, and collaborated with diVine’s owner to make the pumpkin manhattan after realizing the demand for the classic cocktail.

“I like to work with rye whiskeys in particular. Bourbons are usually going to be a little sweeter and the rye adds that edge to the whole drink. The sweet vermouth and pumpkin really make it more mellow and balance it all out,” Sammie said.

195 American Fusion: Apple Cinnamon Whiskey Sour

2 ounces of whiskey, 3/4 ounces of cinnamon syrup, 3/4 of a lemon, one whole egg white.

195 American Fusion’s bartender Anna Pilson warns that this one “goes down pretty easy” — and she’s not wrong. Like all good things, the apple cinnamon whiskey sour takes a little bit of time to perfect. The whiskey used sits with apple cinnamon and cloves for a whole week before it’s strained and ready for action. The cinnamon syrup is homemade, too.

“It’s like fall in your mouth,” Anna said. “The apple cinnamon, the cloves, all of it. And, the egg white might sound strange to some, but it gives the drink that froth that’s very satisfying.”

The Deuce: The Fall Fashion & The Autumn Mule

Fall Fashion: 2 ounces of Pinehurst Resort’s private selection Woodford Reserve bourbon, an ounce of apple brandy and a dash of simple syrup stirred with a cinnamon stick and garnished with a burled cinnamon apple slice.

Autumn Mule: Cranberry-infused vodka, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and ginger beer, all garnished with rosemary and cranberries.

Created by The Deuce’s general manager Francesca Carter and served up by bartender Trey Rausch, the Fall Fashion allows the resort’s Woodford Reserve bourbon to really shine. The bourbon itself is what Francesca calls “an elegant lady” — sweet and mild but packed with flavor.

The Autumn Mule wavers more on the light and refreshing side. The cranberries give it the seasonal factor and the lime adds “a fun twist,” according to Francesca and Trey.

Elliotts on Linden: Rivers End

Muddy River rum, pear, barenjager, domaine de canton, topped with a rosemary sprig.

The base of this easy drinking cocktail was the brain child of Elliotts on Linden’s bartender, Nick Tone. When Jordan Ervin took the reins behind the bar 15 months ago, the two worked together to perfect the Rivers End. A torch is involved for the charred rosemary garnish.

“As soon as I start making it at the bar — I mean you’re burning something. It’s fascinating — half the time people are like, ‘Oh my god, what’s that smell?’ They love it,” Jordan said.

Jordan recently took home third place in the best bartender category for The Pilot’s Best of the Pines competition.

The Leadmine: P.S. I Love You

1 1/2 ounces of bullet bourbon, 1/2 ounce of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 ounce of simple syrup and puréed roasted kabocha squash.

Think pumpkin spice remix for The Leadmine’s “P.S. I Love You” cocktail. Made using kabocha squash instead of pumpkin, lead bartender Chad Norris wanted to create something that’s one-of-a-kind and that tasted like fall, but would compliment the mild weather.

“Here in North Carolina, it doesn’t really get cold until the winter months,” Chad said. “We have the cinnamon and all the fall spices here, but it’s nice to sip on when it’s still warm outside. We also like to take things to the next level, so we went with the kabocha squash instead of pumpkin.”

Chad’s been mixing it up behind the bar at The Leadmine for almost two years now, and recently took home first place for “Best Bartender” for The Pilot’s Best of the Pines competition.

Ironwood Cafe: The Chamomile Palmer

2 ounces of chamomile infused vodka, 1 ounce of lemonade and fill the rest with unsweetened iced tea.

Ironwood’s Chamomile Palmer fits the south’s mild fall weather, while providing the softness that comes with cozy sweaters and falling leaves. It’s the result of veteran bartender Jacqui Rodriguez’s love of chamomile tea and experimenting with different infused vodkas.

“One of my favorite things about the chamomile palmer is how versatile it is. You can infuse pretty much any spirit to make it, and it’s very palatable — not too strong and not too sweet. It’s perfect for sipping on after a cool day on the golf course,” Jacqui said.

Jacqui has been bartending for 15 years total, 11 of which she’s been at Ironwood.

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