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Let bourbon warm you up in all new ways with these delicious fall drinks

These are the best bourbon cocktails to make this fall

Whisky, whiskey, bourbon or cognac with ice cudes on black stone table and wood background
stockfotocz / Adobe Stock

Let’s be real — bourbon is pretty damned wonderful any time of the year. A nice smooth bourbon is a great sipper on a night out on the town, or the sweet goodness of a classic mint julep while you’re enjoying the Kentucky Derby. But come fall, there’s just something especially delicious about this spicy-sweet nectar. Warming to the fingertips,  bourbon’s characteristic flavor is not only luscious on its own but it is also complemented beautifully by other warm and cozy fall flavors when mixed into fall cocktails. These are a few of our absolute favorite bourbon mixed drinks for fall.

Maple Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail
Inspired by Charm

Maple Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail

(From Inspired by Charm)

The first entry on our list of best fall cocktails 2023 blends fall and winter flavors with its decadent combination of maple and cranberry, this is a cocktail you can enjoy straight on through to Christmas. We adore how the acidic burst of cranberry is accented and tamed with the rich coating of maple and the nuttiness of bourbon.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces bourbon
  • 3 ounces cranberry juice
  • 2 ounces maple cranberry syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 ounces seltzer or club soda
  • Maple cranberries and rosemary sprigs for garnish

Maple Cranberries:

  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan, stir together the syrup and cranberries. Simmer until the cranberries begin to burst, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. You will have enough maple cranberries and syrup to make 5-6 cocktails.
  2. Add ice to two rocks glasses. Top each with a tablespoon of the maple cranberries and set aside.
  3. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add bourbon, cranberry juice, and maple cranberry syrup. Shake vigorously.
  4. Strain into prepared glasses. Top each with a splash of seltzer water. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary, if desired.
Spicy Bourbon Pumpkin Smash
Half-Baked Harvest

Spicy Bourbon Pumpkin Smash 

(From Half-Baked Harvest)

When you’re in the mood for a romantic night, curled up by a fireplace, with a sexy someone on the sofa next to you, this is the drink to serve. Invoking all of the warm, intimate feelings, this bourbon cocktail will get you into the pumpkin spiciest of moods.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 ounces spiced pumpkin syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 ounces bourbon 
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice
  • 1-2 dashes orange bitters
  • Ginger beer for topping, optional

Spiced Pumpkin Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Sea salt

Method:

  1. In a small pot, mix together the Spiced Pumpkin Syrup ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine 2-3 tablespoons of pumpkin syrup, bourbon, orange juice, and orange bitters. Add ice and shake. Strain into a glass. Top off with ginger beer, if desired.
Bourbon apple cider
Tidy Mom

Bourbon Apple Cider

(From Tidy Mom)

This adults-only apple cider will make cleaning the leaves out of the rain gutters a much more enjoyable experience. The tart taste of apple cider in this drink pairs perfectly with the malted barley notes of bourbon. Made with just a few simple ingredients, this easy fall cocktail will spice up any chilly afternoon.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces apple cider
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Thyme and cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Method:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add cider, bourbon, and lemon juice. Shake for 30 seconds and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
maple Honeycrisp bourbon cocktails
The Chunky Chef

Maple Honeycrisp Bourbon Cocktail

(From The Chunky Chef)

Deliciously blending the crisp bite of tart apple with the syrupy sweetness of maple, this bourbon cocktail is absolutely perfect for fall. Its accent of peppery thyme is a surprising burst of freshness, and adds a complexity to the cocktail, making it one of our top choices.

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium Honeycrisp apples, sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup bourbon
  • Honeycrisp apple slices, for garnish
  • Thyme sprigs, for garnish

Method:

  1. In a blender, pulse together apples, water, cider, lemon juice, maple syrup and sugar. Process until smooth.
  2. Place a fine mesh sieve over the top of a pitcher and pour the mixture through, pressing with a rubber spatula to get all the liquid into the pitcher. Discard solids.
  3. Stir in bourbon and chill for at least an hour. Serve over ice. Garnish with apple slices and thyme sprigs, if desired.
Smoked Old Fashioned
Aubrey's Kitchen

Smoked Old Fashioned

(From Aubrey’s Kitchen)

The process of smoking food and drinks adds a savory, smokey campfire component that’s hard to achieve with any other method or ingredient. Sure, we all love smoked brisket and fish. Even a toasty marshmallow is delicious with a bit of smokey flavor. But if you’ve yet to try a smoked cocktail, you’re in for a treat. The addition of smoke in this drink adds not only an outstanding flavor but also a gorgeous visual experience.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • 1 orange peel, for garnish

Method:

  1. Pour water, bitters, and sugar into a rocks glass, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add bourbon and ice.
  2. Using a cocktail smoker, fill and cover the glass with smoke. Allow the smoke to remain in covered glass for 1-2 minutes (depending on desired smokiness). Allow the smoke to release and enjoy.
An Old Fashioned whiskey cocktail at a bar.
Steven Miller / Flickr

Maple Old Fashioned

(From A Couple Cooks)

Another twist on the classic Old Fashioned, this one is just what its name suggests. It takes the sugar from the traditional Old Fashioned and substitutes it for maple syrup. Don’t worry, it won’t make your cocktail taste like a stack of pancakes, the maple syrup adds a subtle sweetness and smoothness that mixes nicely with bourbon for a fall cocktail on a cold night.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Orange peel for garnish
  • Cocktail cherry for garnish (optional)
  • Ice, for serving

Method:

  1. Carefully use a sharp knife to remove a 1-inch wide strip of orange peel.
  2. Add the bourbon, maple syrup, bitters, and ice to a lowball glass. Stir to combine.
  3. Release the oils from the orange peel by squeezing it over the drink. Run the peel around the rim of the glass and add the peel to the drink for garnish.
Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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