In Season: Recipes for Cozy Fall Cocktails
There’s a slight chill in the air these days, which affirms my suspicion that fall is here and there’s no turning back. It’s a beautiful season when we rely on warmth not so much from the sun, but from our sweaters, blankets, warm drinks and slow-cooked food. I’m feeling cozy just thinking about it.
When the summer transitions to fall, I feel less like going out in the evenings. Instead of grabbing a drink after work, I’m usually more interested in making one at home while something hearty simmers on the stove. Feeling that impulse already, I found two fall cocktails that are perfect for a night in: the Maple Manhattan and the Craneberry Daiquiri.
The Maple Manhattan is from Boston Harbor Distillery’s website. It’s a warm, sweet variation on the classic Manhattan that pairs their Putnam New England Rye with a fall-appropriate maple simple syrup. I thought it would be nice to pair the Manhattan with a tart and fresh cocktail, but I didn’t love the idea of serving a rye beverage alongside gin, vodka, tequila—or even another rye cocktail (at least not on a work night). After a little digging, I found a cranberry liqueur (called Craneberry) by GrandTen Distilling with a bright pucker when you drink it straight. GrandTen recommends it in a daiquiri recipe with lime juice and simple syrup—a perfect contrast to the sweet and smoky Maple Manhattan.
Whenever I’m having a cocktail, I like to have something to eat nearby. Following the theme of fall flavors, I came up with a recipe for spiced pecans with brown sugar, maple syrup, and a blend of warm spices. By roasting them in the oven, they develop a sweet, salty and spicy candy coating that snaps and crunches when you take a bite. Between their saltiness, fattiness and sweetness, the pecans are a satisfying treat that won’t spoil your appetite (unless you’re hovering over the snack bowl). If you’d prefer more substantial fare, serve the cocktails and pecans with a plate of sharp cheeses, crispy bacon slices and peppery crackers. It’s a welcome combination whether you’re having guests or just treating yourself after a long day at work.
When paired together, these cocktails and spiced pecans hit all the right notes of a fall-themed cocktail hour. There’s warmth in all three, as well as a fun balance of sweet, smoky, tart, salty and spicy flavors. If you’re having guests and would like to enjoy your own party, mix the cocktails in pitchers and stir each individual portion with ice immediately before serving.