7 spicy fall cocktails for pumpkin spice latte haters


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The Pumpkin Spiced Latte Has Nothing On These Seasonal Concoctions.

Love it or loathe it, pumpkin spice is once again everywhere this fall. And the most ironic thing about this ubiquitous blend that elbows its way into coffee, cookies, and even candles is that it contains nary a flavor of the orange vegetable—it’s really about the spices that go into pumpkin pie. None of these cocktails contain actual pumpkin either, but what they do have in spades are warming, comforting spicy flavors.

Get excited for boots, bonfires, and these seven beverages:

Hot Toddy (Listening Room Variation)

Recipe courtesy of Chris Blair, Owner, The Listening Room Cafe, Nashville, TN

“I have always been a fan of hot toddies and have been playing around with the traditional drink for awhile,” Blair says. “I also love apple cider and have since I was a child, so I wanted to create something that incorporates both.” Think of it as a grownup spiked cider, with Cardamaro and Cocchi both providing bitterness and depth; cold foam milk is a creamy garnish.

  • 1 ½ oz. bourbon

  • ½ oz. lightly bitter amaro (the bar uses Cardamaro Vino Amaro)

  • ½ oz. sweet vermouth (the bar uses Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino)

  • 3 oz. hot spiced apple cider (apple cider simmered with your choice of cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise and/or allspice, to taste, with solids strained out)

  • cold foam, for garnish (instructions follow)

  • grated cinnamon, for garnish

Add the Bourbon, Cardamaro, vermouth to a glass mug, add the spiced cider and stir. Top with cold foam and cinnamon. 

For the cold foam:

Pour ¼ cup cold milk in a blender and process for 15-20 seconds. (Whole milk works best but you can use any kind.) Alternatively, whisk by hand until frothy.

Hot Toddy at The Listening Room

Spiced Pear Fizz

Recipe courtesy of Hyatt Regency Frisco Dallas, Dallas, TX

“Our fall cocktails are meant to give guests tastes of fall flavors such as…ginger…lemon and pear,” says senior food and beverage manager Martha Skidmore. “Paired with rum and gin [it’s a] great option for a crisp fall night.” 

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker and dry shake without ice to emulsify and froth. Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with the plum.

For the pear simple syrup:

Add ½ cup pears (peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces), ⅜ cup sugar, ½ cup water and a cinnamon stick to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir gently and allow to simmer for 25 minutes, then turn heat to low and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool for 15 minutes and strain out solids, Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Hot Hibiscus Tea With Mezcal

Recipe courtesy of Gitano Garden of Love, New York, NY

“We wanted to turn up the heat for Fall 2020 with our signature mezcal infused with autumn spices,” says bar manager Angela Kent. It’s perfect sipped al fresco in their romantic “love garden”, by a campfire, on your patio on a chilly evening or even snuggled up in the living room under a blanket. This would make an ideal sipper to celebrate Día de los Muertos.

  • ½ oz. mezcal joven (the bar uses Banhez Mezcal)

  • ¼ oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

  • ¼ oz. Giffard Crème de Pamplemousse liqueur

  • ¾ oz. agave syrup

  • ½ oz. fresh lemon juice

  • 6 oz. hibiscus tea, brewed and still warm

  • 2 dashes each orange and grapefruit bitters

  • dried hibiscus flowers, orange, and/or or lemon slice, for garnish

Pour the brewed tea into a mixing glass, add the rest of the ingredients except garnish and stir. Pour into a tea cup, and garnish as desired.


Recipe courtesy of Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Rome, Italy

“Autumn, with its intense and enveloping colors, is found in this cocktail,” says Angelo Severini, bartender at the hotel’s Tiepolo Lounge & Terrace. “The intense aroma of cinnamon blends perfectly with the herbal highlights of Campari and enhances the notes of vanilla, followed by the flavors of raisins, dried figs, dates and hints of star anise from Carpano Antica Formula.” The venue infuses the Campari using a sous-vide method, which is adapted here for the home bartender by steeping the spices in the liqueur.

Add the first three ingredients to a mixing glass, add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with the orange wheel.

For the cinnamon-and-clove-infused Campari:

Add a cinnamon stick and 3 cloves to ¼ cup of Campari, seal and let steep for 24 hours; strain out solids before use. 

Centanarius at Rome Cavalieri - Tiepolo Bar

How Bout Dem Apples

Recipe courtesy of Katie Tobin, Bar Manager, The Aquifer at New Riff Distilling, Newport, KY

Tobin makes the expected cider cocktail a bit more unique by using an apple syrup and the bite of apple cider vinegar—and 100% pure cider tastes more like fresh, crisp fruit than the cloudy stuff at the supermarket. “The combination of our spicy, high rye bourbon with the cinnamon simple syrup melds perfectly with the brightness of fresh lemon juice and apple cider vinegar,” she says, “while the sweetness of apple cider, maple syrup, and apple syrup offers a perfectly balanced cocktail that truly tastes like fall in a glass.”

  • 2 oz. bourbon (they use New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey)

  • ½ oz. non-alcoholic apple cider (they use Martinelli’s Apple Cider)

  • ½ oz. cinnamon simple syrup (instructions follow)

  • ¼ oz. lemon juice

  • ¼ oz. apple cider vinegar

  • ¼ oz. maple syrup (or bourbon maple syrup)

  • ¼ oz. Reàl Apple Syrup (or can ramp up the amount of cinnamon syrup)

  • dehydrated apple disc, for garnish

  • cinnamon sugar and maple syrup, for rimming

Rub half of the outside of the rim of a highball glass with maple syrup, then dip in cinnamon sugar to coat. Set aside.

Add all ingredients (except garnish) to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into the prepared highball glass over fresh ice, and garnish with the apple disc.

For the cinnamon simple syrup:

To a small saucepan add ¼ cup sugar, ¼ water and 1 cinnamon stick. Simmer until sugar dissolves, remove from the heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

How 'bout dem apples

Pera De Fuego

Recipe courtesy of Alyson Brown, author of The Flower-Infused Cocktail Book

This cocktail takes some advanced prep, but the results are worth it. Torching cinnamon sticks lends a smoky spiciness that’s irresistible, and infusing tequila ramps up that comforting baking spice flavor. You can also smoke the ground cinnamon for the garnish—just shake some onto a flameproof plate and light for a few seconds with the kitchen torch.

Add all ingredients except garnishes to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a pear slice and smoked cinnamon sprinkled on top.

For the cinnamon-infused reposado tequila:

Add 2 cinnamon sticks to ⅓ cup reposado Tequila, let steep for 24 hours and strain out solids.

For the smoked cinnamon syrup:

Warm ¼ cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to caramelize. Carefully add ¼ cup water and bring to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the mixture from the heat. Place a cinnamon stick under a flame using a lighter, gas stove or kitchen torch until smoking, then drop into the simple syrup. Add 2 cloves and 1 ¼-inch slice of fresh ginger, then cover and steep for 30 minutes. In the last 5 minutes, add ½ tsp. safflower petals (optional). Remove solids, strain into a jar and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Pera de Fuego


Recipe courtesy of Irene Yoo, Makku

Makgeolli, a milky, slightly sparkling, tangy low ABV Korean alcoholic beverage, actually predates soju. Makku is a crafty version that recently hit the market, and it works well mixed with a spicy soy milk-based horchata syrup. Though this cocktail is creamy, it’s also actually vegan and dairy-free.

  • 4 oz. chilled Makku Original

  • 1 oz. horchata syrup (instructions follow)

  • Several toasted pine nuts, for garnish (optional)

Add the Makku and horchata syrup to a lowball glass. Add one large ice cube and stir until well-chilled. Garnish with the pine nuts, if desired.

For the Horchata syrup:

In a small saucepan, add ¼ cup unsweetened soy or rice milk, 2 cinnamon sticks and ⅛ cup sugar. Bring it to a simmer until sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat, cool and remove the cinnamon sticks.

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This article originally appeared on AlcoholProfessor.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Featured Image Credit: Tiepolo Bar / AlcholoProfessor.com.