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Small farmer in a big city

Fall Cocktail Guide

Fall Cocktail Guide

Fall Cocktail Guide: It is officially holiday season! I get so pumped about the holidays because I love the way people are so giving, friendly, and actually nice to each other.

Don’t get me wrong in the South people are friendly enough. But, during the holidays it’s like next level- epic- kumbaya vibes. Everyone seems to be a better version of him or her. The bonus is getting to spend the extra time with friends and family. Which means, of course, there will be parties, gatherings, brunches, dinners, visits from said family & friends, and of course my favorite- chilly nights with a good book & a good drink.

In this guide, you will find fruit inspired cocktails perfect for any type of gathering or to drink at home. On a side note I always wonder what it would be like to live somewhere that the temperature is cold enough to need a fireplace, a fluffy blanket, & a warm cocktail- sadly I live in Texas & the fall & winter season is still relatively warm. I digress. Back to the cocktails!

Although I did have a short stint as a bartender back in my college days now I enjoy mixing up drinks that aren’t full of sugar and mixers.

My drink in college was a cherry vodka sour- gross right? The thought of downing cherry vodka sour makes me squirm. I don’t know what I was thinking! All those extra mixers are loaded with crap.

I am not big on counting calories, but hey if I can consume fewer calories (especially while having a cocktail) then I’m all for it. The holiday season already brings so many temptations with tons of other goodies.

There is a trend right now with cocktail having so many different ingredients and all kinds of garnishes. Just like with cooking-using garden fresh ingredients makes all the difference.

When I mix up drinks I use fruit, honey simple syrup, and freshly squeezed juice to add a crisp taste. You will be surprised at how different your drink tastes when you use fresh ingredients.

There are a few basic pieces you need to really elevate your drink:

  1. Cocktail shaker

  2. Strainer

  3. Jigger

  4. Muddler

If you don’t have these items that’s okay too. There are other options.

  1. Instead of a cocktail shaker & strainer, you can use a mason jar & the lid.

  2. A tablespoon-measuring spoon (1/2 ounce is 1 tablespoon) can replace the jigger. 3. You can use the back of a spoon to muddle your fruit.

Several of my cocktail recipes call for honey simple syrup, but you can also use agave syrup. I like to always keep a batch of honey simple syrup on hand, and you can easily infuse it with fruit and herbs.

Honey Simple Syrup

The rule of thumb is 1 part honey to 1 part water. I usually do 1 cup of honey to 1 cup of water.

You will need:

  1. Honey

  2. Water

  3. Small saucepan

To a saucepan add honey and water (optional throw in fresh fruit to infuse). On low temperature bring the sauce to a slight boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from burner and let cool before using. Store in an airtight container.

* You can also make an infused honey simple syrup by simply adding 1 cup of whatever fruit you want to infuse into the honey simple syrup.

I am also including the recipe for apple cider because a few recipes call for cider. Of course, store bought cider will work, but I just prefer the homemade stuff.

Homemade Apple Cider

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You will need:

  1. 10 apples (I used Gala)

  2. 2 oranges

  3. 4 cinnamon sticks

  4. 1 tablespoon nutmeg

  5. 1 tablespoon whole cloves

  6. 1 teaspoon allspice

  7. 12 cups of water

  8. 1/2- 1 cup of brown sugar (to taste preference)

Steps:

  1. Cut up whole apples (seeds & stems are okay) & oranges (will peel the skin off next time) & place in pot

  2. Add ingredients 3-7 to pot

  3. Cover pot with lid & bring to a boil over medium heat. Once at a boil lower heat to low & cook for another 2 hours. You will need to stir occasionally.

  4. Begin to mush apples once soft enough.

  5. Cook for another hour.

  6. Strain using cheesecloth or colander

  7. Add brown sugar to taste & stir until it dissolves.

  8. Serve warm or store in an airtight container.

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Pumpkin Apple Shandy

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You will need (for 2 drinks):

  1. 6 oz. of apple cider (I used homemade cider refer to the recipe)

  2. Juice of a whole orange

  3. 2 pumpkin flavored beer (I used DogFish Head)

Steps:

  1. To each chilled glass add juice of ½ an orange

  2. Pour approximately 3 oz. of apple cider in each glass

  3. Top with about ½ a beer & just top off with more beer as you drink

Bourbon & Cider

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You will need (1 cocktail):

  1. 2 oz. bourbon

  2. 4 oz. apple cider

  3. Juice of ½ orange

  4. Garnish- Orange peel & slice of jalapeno

Steps:

  1. To a cocktail shaker add all ingredients plus 1 cup of ice & shake

  2. Pour into glass with ice & garnish with orange peel & jalapeno slice – the jalapeno will definitely add a little kick to your cocktail

Lemon Ginger Toddy

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You will need (1 cocktail)

  1. 2 oz. of brandy

  2. 8 oz. of hot water

  3. tea bag (I used lemon ginger)

  4. 1 oz. honey

  5. juice of ½ lemon

  6. Optional- grated ginger

Steps:

  1. Boil 8 oz. of water

  2. Add water, tea bag, honey, lemon juice, & grated ginger to mug & let steep.

  3. Stir in the brandy & enjoy

Pear & Lavender Bubbly

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This cocktail is so good for entertaining & adds just the right amount of sweetness to the champagne. Last New Year’s Eve I made this drink for a little pregame before the actual New Year. It was definitely a fun night! You’ll wonder how you drank a bottle so quickly! So, be sure to have extra bottles of champagne on chill just in case. This recipe calls for a lavender honey simple syrup. So just follow the honey simple syrup recipe using the 1-1 ratio, but add 1 sliced pear. I went with a red pear for some great color contrast. I’m all for the color contrast & presentation.

You will need (per drink):

  1. 1 oz. lavender honey simple syrup

  2. Champagne- lots & lots of champagne

  3. Optional- pear slices & lavender to garnish

Steps:

  1. Pour 1 oz. of lavender honey simple syrup into champagne flute

  2. Top with champagne

  3. Garnish & enjoy

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Falling For Gin

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You will need (for 1 drink):

  1. 5 oz. gin

  2. Juice of ½ lemon

  3. 1 oz. apple cider

  4. Splash of ginger beer

  5. Optional- apple slices & nutmeg

Steps:

  1. To a cocktail shaker add gin, lemon juice, apple cider & 1 cup of ice- shake

  2. Pour mixture into a glass with ice

  3. Top with ginger beer

  4. Garnish with apple slice & a dash of nutmeg

Spiced Rum

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You will need (for 1 drink):

  1. 2 oz. rum

  2. 5 oz. apple juice

  3. 1 oz. honey simple syrup

  4. Optional- apple slice & cinnamon

Mimosa Margarita -WARNING-

This is a strong drink, and it’s perfect for brunch or whenever. Not only is it pretty to look at, but it’s really really good!

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You will need (for 2 drinks):

  1. 3 oz. of tequila

  2. 2 oz. lime juice

  3. 2 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice

  4. 1 oz. honey

  5. Champagne

Steps:

  1. To a cocktail shaker add ingredients 1-4 & 1 cup of ice shake

  2. Divide mixture between 2 glasses with ice

  3. Top with champagne

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Coco Russian

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 A slight twist on a classic drink, White Russian, the Coco Russian uses … you guessed it, coconut milk instead of whole milk.

You will need (1 cocktail)

  1. 2 oz. vodka

  2. 1 oz. Kahlua

  3. 1 oz. coconut milk

  4. Optional- toasted coconut flakes for garnish

Steps:

  1. To a glass add ice

  2. To drink shaker add ingredients 1-3 & shake

  3. Pour into glass and garnish with toasted coconut flakes (place coconut flakes in broiler for a few minutes to get the perfect brown coloring)

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Blueberry Martini

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Vodka & fresh fruit yaaassss girl I'm here for it!

You will need (1 cocktail)

  1. 2 oz. vodka

  2. ¼ cup muddled blueberries

  3. ½ - 1 oz. honey simple syrup (to taste)

  4. Extra blueberries for garnish

Steps:

  1. Pour blueberries into cocktail shaker & muddle

  2. Add vodka & honey (more blueberries if you want more juice)

  3. Strain mixture into a chilled martini glass & garnish with blueberries My personal favorite liquor is VODKA. This liquor has the least amount of calories- about 65 calories per ounce for 80 proof vodka. Just a little tip- if you’re trying to watch your calorie intake, but still partake in consuming some cocktails go with vodka. Also, since it is a clear liquor it naturally has less fructose

Mulled Wine

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This is so easy to make, & can really stretch bottles of wine. I usually make this particular drink when entertaining a group of people (not that it’s not delicious enough to drink solo). There is no way to mess up this recipe, so if you really like oranges add more- if you don’t care for cinnamon then omit it. After all at the base for this drink is red WINE. Personally, I always go with Cabernet Sauvignon, but any red wine will work. You are adding so many flavors so the wine doesn’t need to be expensive- trust me on this one.

You will need:

  1. 1 (750 ml) bottle red wine

  2. 2 cinnamon sticks

  3. 2-star anise

  4. 2 oranges (juiced & zested) + orange slices to garnish

  5. 3 whole cloves

  6. 4 cups of apple cider (I used homemade cider)

  7. ¼ cup honey (optional if you prefer a sweeter taste)

Steps:

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  1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan over a low heat. You will bring to a low boil for about 10-12 minutes (don’t let it heat longer than this or you could cook off the alcohol). Pour into heat resistant glasses or mugs, garnish, and enjoy.

White Wine- This crisp apple sangria has all the fall notes & can be served over ice. Sangria is the easiest drink to make ahead, & serve on chill when you’re ready to drink. The longer you let the ingredients mix together the better. I mean I can’t say that I haven’t thrown everything together in a pitcher a couple hours before the party was supposed to start. I mean its wine, so no matter what it’s going to taste good, but leaving the pitcher in the refrigerator overnight yields the best results.

Fall Apple Sangria

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You will need:

  1. 1 cored & sliced honey crisp apple (Optional 1 extra apple for garnish)

  2. 1 (750 ml) bottle of white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)

  3. 1 quartered orange

  4. 1 quartered lemon

  5. 1 quartered lime

  6. 1 cinnamon stick

  7. 2 whole cloves

  8. ¼ cup honey

  9. club soda & ice

  10. Optional- ½ cup of vodka!

  11. Garnish option- sugar & cinnamon for the glass rims

Steps:

  1. Combine ingredients 1-8 into a large bowl & put it in the fridge for a minimum of a few hours, but ideally at least 12 hours.

  2. Strain mixture into a pitcher

  3. Chop up additional apple for garnish

  4. On a plate mix equal parts cinnamon & sugar to coat rim of glasses. Moisten the rims & dip glass rim into cinnamon & sugar mixture.

  5. Fill each glass with ice & some apple pieces. Then pour in sangria leaving a little room

  6. Add a splash of club soda & enjoy

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And that's all for now. I tried to make sure I included different types of choices- you know a little something for everyone type thing. But hey it's the holidays we should all be merry & try something new - who knows you could get a new favorite drink! When we take shots we usually say this (but it can work here too) ** Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa'dentro!  Salud ** Which means glasses up, glasses down, glasses to the center (this is where you toast glasses), drink it down. & sauld basically means to your health. Cheers, everyone & bottles up!

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