Labor Day Weekend is here. It’s the perfect last hurrah for summer and a time to welcome in the things we love about fall. Like the flavors. There’s nothing quite like the flavor of fall and we’re not talking about pumpkin spice. Nope. Instead, let’s explore some of the more complex flavor combinations fall has to offer. To really impress people, set up a table, or tables, in a half-and-half fashion and serve up summer flavors in the day, but fall ones as the temps drop and you light a fire.

Summer Flavor Cocktails

This summer saw several savory food trends. While citrus and tropical fruits were the stars, as always, spice proved nice by being at the forefront of the hottest dishes and drinks during summer 2017. We’ve rounded up five of our favorite cocktails from the summer that blend the best of the trends for a fantastic last blast of fresh summer flavors.

Blood Orange & Rosemary Fizz

Ice
2 oz. fresh blood-orange juice
1/2 oz. Aperol or Campari
1/2 oz. Rosemary Simple Syrup
2 oz. Prosecco
1 blood-orange wheel, for garnish
1 rosemary sprig, for garnish

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Add the blood-orange juice, Aperol and rosemary simple syrup.
  • Shake well and strain into a Champagne coupe or flute.
  • Top with the Prosecco and garnish with the blood-orange wheel and rosemary sprig.

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Recipe from Food & Wine | Image from Heather Christo

Pineapple Coconut Martini

Pina Coladas are a little overdone. This drink keeps our favorite summer combo but lightens and brightens it up. Plus, it’s super easy to make.

2 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. gin
1 oz. coconut rum
1 drop vanilla extract
½ oz. lime juice
½ oz. Lillet
2 ice cubes
Lime wedge or wheel

  • Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker for 30 seconds.
  • Pour into the glass of your choice and garnish with lime.

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Recipe & Image from The Framed Table

My Clementine

Pitcher drinks are perfect for parties, and this Labor Day weekend sparkler needs a pitcher drink because once people try it they’re going to tell everyone else to pour a glass, too. This recipe makes 8 servings.

14 oz. vodka
12 oz. fresh clementine juice
6 oz. fresh lime juice
6 oz. Aperol

4 oz. light agave nectar
12 oz. chilled club soda
ice
Lime wheels

  • In a pitcher, combine the vodka, clementine juice, lime juice, Aperol and agave. Stir well.

  • Refrigerate until chilled, 1 hour.

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Work in batches adding fresh ice, shake well and strain into 8 ice-filled collins glasses.

  • Stir 1 1/2 ounces of club soda into each glass. Garnish with lime wheels.

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Recipe from Food & Wine | Image from Story of a Kitchen

Strawberry-Ginger Punch

Nothing says summer like strawberries and the addition of ginger to this punch is another example of how the 2017 summer fruit and spice trend done right. This recipe makes 6 drinks.

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 12 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled, halved or quartered if large (about 3 cups), divided

  • 1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced, divided

  • 1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, divided

  • 1 1/2 cups brandy

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 2 12-ounce cans club soda

  • Combine sugar, 1/2 cup strawberries, half of ginger, and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries soften, about 3 minutes. Let cool. Strain and set syrup aside.

  • Muddle 2 cups strawberries, 1/4 cup basil, and remaining ginger in a large jar or bowl. Add brandy, lime juice, and reserved syrup and stir to combine. Chill at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours to let flavors meld.

  • Strain mixture into a large punch bowl, pressing on solids to release as much liquid as possible.

  • Add club soda and remaining 1/2 cup strawberries and 1/4 cup basil.

  • Serve over ice.

 

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Recipe from Bon Appetit | Image from Eat Laugh Purr

Sicilian Kitchen

In Sicily it’s hard to find a dish without lemon on it. The second favorite ingredient? Oregano. This Sangria, from The Oethical Oenologist, is a refreshing pitcher drink perfect for Labor Day weekend fetes. A feature of drinks from this site is the elimination of unnecessary ice.

1 bottle pinot grigio or unoaked Chardonnay
1-2 cups sliced lemon
Black pepper Schnapps (to taste)
¼-½ cup Absolut Citron
¼-½ cup Oregano tisane or tea
⅛-½ cup simple syrup
Lemon slices & oregano sprigs

  • Combine ingredients in a pitcher and stir gently.

  • Leave in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.

  • Serve in glasses garnished with a lemon slice and oregano sprig.

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Recipe from The Oethical Oenologist | Image from Gourmet Meals For Less

Fall Flavor Cocktails

We’re pretty sure that if we go to pinterest there’s a pumpkin spice cocktail on there. But we’re going to avoid it. Pumpkin spice is great, but let’s expand our idea of fall flavors by focusing on others. These 5 cocktails will reignite your love for the season and introduce you to flavor combos you’ve never had, or have forgotten due to the worldwide pumpkin spice craze.

Thyme Will Tell

This simple cocktail uses maple syrup and thyme for a balanced, fall flavor-driven cocktail that is simple to make. Whatever you do, use real maple syrup, not the stuff that comes in a plastic log cabin. Pro-tip: Grade B (also called Grade A Dark & Amber) is the most flavorful and best for cocktail mixing.

2 oz. bourbon
½ oz. maple syrup
½ oz. lemon juice
Thyme

  • Muddle a spring or two of thyme in the bottom of a glass.

  • Combine the rest of the ingredients and serve on the rocks.

  • Garnish with a twist.

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Recipe from The Sea Grill NYC | Image from Town & Country

Pom Pomme

The pomegranate is the reason we have fall according to Greek mythology, so why not celebrate Labor Day weekend with a spicy pomegranate cocktail?

2 oz. pomegranate juice
2 oz. ginger liqueur
1 oz apple brandy
2 oz sparkling hard apple cider

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.

  • Add the juice, liqueur and brandy and shake until chilled, about 20 seconds.

  • Strain into two glasses and top each with 1 oz. cider.

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Recipe from Serious Eats | Image from Autumn Giles

Hot Buttered Rum

Nutmeg is falls secret ingredient found in everything from pies to lasagna. That means you should incorporate it into cocktails like this one from Absolut. This recipe can be scaled based on how many you’re serving. For one drink use two ounces of rum and 4 parts water.

2 parts aged, dark rum
1 tspn butter
1 part honey
1 pinch nutmeg (a little goes a long way)
4 parts boiling water
1 slice lemon
1 cinnamon stick for garnish

Irish Coffee

If you’ve been to the Shannon Airport in Ireland or The Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco, you’ve probably had one of these and, to be fair, you’ll never recreate it quite as perfectly at home. That said, you can still enjoy the drink on chilly fall nights. Best enjoyed as soon as it’s made by sipping the coffee and whiskey through the cream. 

6 oz. coffee
2 sugar cubes

1 ½ oz. Irish whiskey

Heavy cream, lightly whipped

  • Fill glass with very hot water to pre-heat, then empty.

  • Pour hot coffee into hot glass until it is about three-quarters full.

  • Drop in two sugar cubes. Stir until dissolved.

  • Add Irish Whiskey.

  • Top with whipped cream by pouring gently over a spoon.

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Recipe from Food | Image from Punch

Summer’s Last Stand

We’re rounding out these fall flavored cocktails with another Sangria from The Oethical Oenologist. This one is inspired by caramel-apples, the perfect fall treat.

1 bottle late harvest Sauvignon Blanc

1-2 cups honeycrisp apples, cubed

¼-½ cup caramel liqueur

¼-½ cup light rum

¼-½ cup apple cider

⅛-½ cup simple syrup

Apple slices, caramel drizzle, cinnamon sticks for garnish

  • Place all ingredients except garnish in a pitcher.

  • Stir gently.

  • Cover and set in fridge overnight (or for at least 4 hours if serving the same day)

  • Remove and stir before serving.

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