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Among visits to the pumpkin patch and sweater weather, fall also means trading in cold drinks for warm, comforting ones. Aperol Spritzes are replaced by toddies; hot mulled wine takes over for frosé, sipped by a roaring fire instead of on a sunny rooftop. It’s a time to let seasonal ingredients and spices shine—think Spiced Pumpkin Lassis, Maple-Bourbon Smashes with dark amber maple syrup, and “Tante’s Medicine,” a hot toddy seasoned with ground cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg. Cranberries, too, make an incredible addition to fall drinks, and Jeff Rogers, the bar director at Constantine in Minneapolis, says he loves to add them to Collins-style cocktails with a splash of soda water. However, one of his other favorite fall cranberry recipes is a little more unusual—and we want to sip it all season long.
“There’s a hot cranberry juice cocktail that I love to make,” Rogers says. “Most people haven't had warm cranberry juice before.”
Yes, you read that correctly—hot cranberry juice. While you, like us, might be used to drinking it cold over ice, Rogers makes the case for heating it up and treating it like a mulled wine. He adds baking spices, and then mixes it with rye whiskey and amaretto, garnishing it with an orange coin for the finishing touch so it resembles “a twist on a familiar favorite.” We could easily see it being a hit at dinner parties (perhaps served en masse out of a punch bowl) or perfect on its own in a mug.
If the idea of warmed up cranberry juice seems a little dubious to you, Rogers also likes to make Calvados Old Fashioneds in the fall, using Calvados, rye whiskey, demerara syrup, and bitters—preferably, the latter should be baking spice-forward, he says. Calvados is a rich apple brandy, so it’s a fitting base for the drink, considering fall is peak apple picking season; Manhattans, too, are on Rogers’ list of preferred fall drinks. For more inspiration, we have a roundup of our favorite autumnal cocktails—with 30 recipes to choose from, you’re sure to find something for everyone.