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Chilly weather is a great excuse to get festive with spice-spiked cold-weather cocktails and toddies. Though pumpkin spice has many fans, there are a multitude of other flavor options for pouring a taste of autumn into your mug or cocktail tumbler.
"They key to fall flavors is in the spices,” says Rachelle Lucas of “The Travel Bite,” a popular food and travel blog. “Cinnamon and nutmeg are especially comforting, and invoke a bit of nostalgia, too.”
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Lucas and bartenders across the country shared a few of the drinks they're raising into the crisp autumn air to toast fall fun.
A fire pit sangria
A sweaty pitcher of sangria loaded with ripe berries typically conjures summertime entertaining. But you might be surprised by how easy it is to give the beloved Spanish drink a fall twist by whipping up Lucas’ Autumn Sangria on your stove top. You can drink it warm or refrigerate for a cooler version.
"I've been making autumn sangria every year for over a decade now, so it's a bit of a tradition,” says the Orlando-based blogger, “The trees here in Florida might not change color, but I know when I taste that first sip of sangria, the season has arrived.”
This aromatic sangria just begs to be sipped fireside — but people in Florida and other warm parts of the country will enjoy it, too.
- 2 bottles merlot
- 1 bottle ginger ale
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 4 to 6 apples
- 6 to 10 cinnamon sticks
1. Combine sugar and ground spices in a small bowl and mix well.
2. Pour merlot into a large pot, add the sugar and spices, then let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
3. Pour into a pitcher or other container. Chop apples and add them along with the cinnamon sticks to the sangria mixture. Add ginger ale. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
A shot of pumpkin pie
Alex Ervin, a bartender at the Viceroy Snowmass, a Colorado ski property, provides inspiration on how to spike hot chocolate or imbue an espresso cocktail with the perfect punch of pumpkin flavor.
"The toughest part about these drinks is keeping it to just one,” says Ervin, “Thankfully they stay relevant all the way through Thanksgiving."
Pumpkin Pie Shot
- 1/2 ounce Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie Vodka (available at specialty alcohol shops like Total Wine & More)
- 1/2 ounce Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
For an espresso cocktail: Shake pumpkin pie shot with ice and strain into a martini glass atop a chilled shot of espresso. Serve with whipped cream.
For spiked hot chocolate: Stir alcohol into 6 ounces of hot chocolate and garnish with fresh whipped cream.