18 Best Fall Cocktail Recipes

The fall season calls for heartier flavors and aromas. The gradual transition from long carefree summer days to gloomy colder fall weather can be challenging to cope with, so the season calls for the extra dose of comfort, warmth, and coziness. The idea also translates to gastronomy. As the temperatures get lower, you start craving heavier, warmer dishes to replace those light summer veggies. And when it comes to drinking, sparkling rosés and fruity summer cocktails simply aren't a good match for intense fall weather.

In the beverage department, fall is mainly associated with pumpkin spice — that delectable mix that typically incorporates warming spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves — but there are more flavors that marry well with the fall season. Chocolate, coffee, and caramel all fit into the fall framework and should not be overlooked when thinking of an ideal fall beverage. All of these flavors perfectly work in cocktails, so think of this recipe list as a solution for the days when a pumpkin spice latte just won't do.

Regardless of your drinking preferences, this round-up surely includes a cocktail that would fit your taste. Whether you think of fall cocktails as indulgent, over-the-top creations that could fit in the dessert category or as two-ingredient, spirit-based brawny blends, this list includes them all.

1. Irish Coffee

Irish coffee is a bold cocktail that combines strong coffee and Irish whiskey, resulting in an ideal drink for those chilly fall afternoons that call for a caffeine kick or a caffeinated after-dinner drink. It is a potent, richly flavored cocktail with a smooth, creamy texture and feather-light whipped cream served on top. This recipe is an upgraded version that uses brown sugar to get more caramel notes and infuses whipped cream with Bailey's for extra flavor.

Recipe: Irish Coffee

2. Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is one of the most classic historic American cocktails, per Vinepair. And it seems that it will never go out of style. Although the recipe is straightforward — muddling sugar and bitters and then adding a large ice cube and bourbon — the result is a strong, perfectly balanced cocktail that manages not to be overpowering. The combination of spicy bourbon, subtle sweetness, and hints of bitterness perfectly pairs with the changing fall season.

Recipe: Old-Fashioned

3. Guinness Float

Think of the Guinness float as an all-grown-up fall version of your favorite summer ice cream float. By using Guinness, a signature Irish stout, this cocktail gets a heavier note that can be used as a great interlude to the fall season. Guinness has those subtly bitter, roasty coffee flavors that pair well with sweet vanilla ice cream. Top it with chocolate syrup, and enjoy a delectable creamy texture as the ice cream melts. This combination can be stretched through winter all the way up to St Patrick's Day.

Recipe: Guinness Float

4. Pumpkin Pie Martini

Nothing says "fall" more than pumpkin spice. This is the perfect recipe to try this fall if you're over pumpkin spice lattes and are up for an adult drink that will still burst with those warming spice notes. This revamped shaken martini version uses half and half with a shot of Frangelico, the hazelnut-flavored liqueur that delivers nutty notes. Vanilla-flavored vodka is used as a base, and the drink is completed with pumpkin spice. The final touch is the spiced graham-coated rim.

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Martini

5. Apple Cider Slushie

We can all agree that slushies scream "summer," but this cocktail will make you reconsider that idea. This low-ABV slushie is built around apple cider and uses cinnamon and nutmeg as essential flavorings. Apple cider slushie is blended in no time, resulting in an icy drink brimming with fresh flavors complemented by warming, spice-like notes. 

Recipe: Apple Cider Slushie

6. White Russian

The White Russian is a classic for a reason. It's tough to beat the creamy combo gained with heavy whipping cream and those complex flavors delivered by Kahlúa, all built around a neutral vodka base. This classic transcends seasons, but it makes a perfect addition to the list of fall cocktails. It's strong but not overwhelming, while that nutty, chocolate, and coffee-like flavors deliver a comforting feel ideal for the cozy fall season. When making the cocktail, add the cream last so it doesn't curdle.

Recipe: White Russian

7. Flor De Muertos Margarita

The Flor de Muertos margarita is a spin on the classic margarita in which tequila is accompanied by sour, agave nectar, passionfruit, and marigold flowers. Chef Richard Sandoval created the cocktail to commemorate the Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), a Mexican tradition that celebrates and honors the dead. For the best version of the drink, make sure to use 100% agave tequila, and don't skip the marigold, as it is an essential ingredient that lends citrus and spice-like flavors.

Recipe: Flor De Muertos Margarita

8. Espresso Martini

The espresso martini is enjoying a huge comeback, and there's no reason it can't make a great fall sipper. With vodka, simple syrup, coffee liqueur, and freshly brewed espresso (or a concentrated cold brew), this shaken cocktail is a perfectly balanced drink. Don't be fooled by the name; this is a strong, caffeine-fueled cocktail that works best as an after-dinner drink that takes the place of a dessert. Alternatively, you can serve it with chocolate desserts or pair it with soft cheese.

Recipe: Espresso Martini

9. Sidecar

The Sidecar is one of the timely classics that's a constant on the cocktail menu at every respectable bar. It's a simple cocktail based on cognac, a strong spirit that evokes a cozy fall mood. The drink is improved with the addition of orange liqueur and lemon juice, which lend essential citrusy elements, resulting in a perfectly balanced cocktail that is easy to make and perfect to sip on those crisp fall evenings. This recipe plays with the standard ratio in favor of sweetness over sour notes.

Recipe: Sidecar

10. Dubonnet

Dubonnet falls into the classic cocktail category. It is a simple, three-ingredient cocktail that works. And because of its soothing, warming character, it's an excellent addition to the list of the best fall cocktails. It combines Dubonnet (a type of fortified wine) and gin, with orange zest as a garnish. Although it is strong, the blend of spicy Dubonnet and aromatic gin results in a sophisticated drink that is best enjoyed slowly sipped. Dubonnet was Queen Elizabeth II's favorite, so it must be exceptional. And if you haven't tried it, fall is the perfect season to whip it up.

Recipe: Dubonnet

11. Eggnog Martini

Eggnog is a holiday staple, but it shouldn't be limited to its original form or reserved for festive winter celebrations. This recipe transforms eggnog into a creamy, sophisticated martini that ticks all the boxes for an ideal fall drink: smooth, rich, and packed with spicy, nutty, and vanilla-like flavors. The non-alcoholic eggnog and vanilla vodka are used as the base, while hazelnut-flavored Frangelico liqueur delivers those warm caramel and nutty notes. Coat the rim with maple syrup and cinnamon for extra flavor, and add whipped cream for a decadent kick.

Recipe: Eggnog Martini

12. Jingle Juice

Jingle juice is a fruity punch synonymous with the holiday season, but nothing can stop you from making this communal punch bowl for Thanksgiving, too. Recipe developer Kit Hondrum says it's whipped up in no time and makes an ideal cocktail for any holiday party. Jingle juice combines sparkling rosé, sparkling cider, orange and lemon juice, vodka, and Cointreau to create a fizzy base that's enriched with frozen cranberries, oranges, and mint. Optionally, you can also add a splash of almond extract. The most important tip is to make the jingle juice fresh, so it doesn't go flat.

Recipe: Jingle Juice

13. Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy is a cocktail reserved for those chilly fall days. There is no better thing than to indulge in a hot, spiked cocktail on those rainy, gray days that call for a time-out. This recipe is a classic version made with whiskey, honey, lemon juice, hot water, and warming spices. Serve it hot, and get that well-deserved rest.

Recipe: Hot Toddy

14. Rusty Nail

The Rusty Nail is a vintage cocktail whose origin and unusual name are shrouded in mystery. A two-ingredient drink, this classic is one of the simplest old-fashioned cocktails. Made with smoky Scotch whiskey and Drambuie — honey and spice infused whiskey liqueur — the Rusty Nail is not a subtle drink. But if you want to make it lighter, opt for blended Scotch instead of single malts. Because of its full body and rich flavor, it makes a great fall sipper.

Recipe: Rusty Nail

15. Manhattan

The Manhattan needs no introduction. This American cocktail legend has been present since the late 1800s, and the combination of rye, sweet vermouth, orange bitters, and Angostura continues to delight. The Manhattan is an ideal after-dinner cocktail, and because of its complexity, strength, and heavier character, it would make an excellent combination for those colder fall evenings. You can swap rye for bourbon, but remember that the spicy rye profile perfectly pairs with aromatic vermouth and bitter Angostura.

Recipe: Manhattan

16. Sazerac

Sazerac is a New Orleans-born cocktail that's still relevant today, even though it originated sometime in the mid-1800s, per Liquor.com. Although it can be enjoyed year-round, it's packed with a ton of flavor, making it an ideal complement to the chilly fall season. This recipe is an authentic version made with absinthe, which is used to coat the glass, along with spicy rye whiskey and aromatic Peychaud's bitters. The sugar cube provides the crucial sweet note.

Recipe: Sazerac

17. Gold Rush

The Gold Rush is one of the contemporary additions to our fall cocktail recipe list. Now considered a modern classic, the Gold Rush was created at the legendary Milk & Honey cocktail bar in New York City, explains Punch. The cocktail consists of a bourbon base tweaked with lemon juice and sweetened with honey syrup. Honey syrup provides sweetness and gives the drink a creamy and frothy texture. The Gold Rush is well-balanced with spicy, sour, and sweet notes, and it would work great as a fall cocktail, especially when garnished with fresh thyme or rosemary.

Recipe: Gold Rush

18. Mudslide

A mudslide is decadence in a glass, and as such, it makes for a perfect fall drink. By combining half and half (or heavy cream), Kahlúa, and Bailey's, the cocktail attains the signature richness and silky-smooth texture that is well balanced with vodka and ice. Chocolate syrup coats the rim of the glass and complements the nutty, caramel-like, and coffee notes of the drink. This creamy, luscious cocktail can easily take the place of a dessert. For an extra decadent kick, top it with a dollop of whipped cream.

Recipe: Mudslide