Seasonal Cocktails – The Spice of Life

You’ve likely heard that line in a movie where a patron tells the bartender or the waiter, “I’ll have the usual”.  While familiarity is a comforting thing, sometimes you just need to cut loose and go for something new. It may be daunting to try a new food, or even a new cocktail, but when you do, a whole fresh world opens up.

Inspiration for a change

We love to make a shift when the seasons change – whether it’s our wardrobe, décor, or the food we eat, transitioning things can be fun. Perhaps the best thing about this time of year, as the weather begins to (hopefully) turn cooler, is the opportunity to try new seasonal flavors. Right about now, many wonderful ingredients and spices make their presence known in food and drinks alike.

The aromas and flavors of typical fall spices can bring us back to a happy, warm place from our past or tantalize us with thoughts of the festive days ahead. It’s definitely a good time to get adventurous and to get “spicy”.

Whether they are infused in the liquor, mixed in a syrup, or simply rimming the glass, spices are a great way to enhance some of your favorite beverages. In food, cinnamon, apple, nutmeg, and clove are unleashed in many a dish. Then the ubiquitous pumpkin appears. It’s in pie, lattes, cookies, and yes, cocktails.

Transition from summer to fall

It may be challenging to think about jumping straight into the heavier cocktails that are holiday season favorites so try making a gentle transition. Pumpkin is typically partnered with bourbon or whiskey, but it plays well with lighter spirits like vodka, gin, or even that leftover cachaca you used to make Caipirinhas during the Rio Olympics. We like how it’s incorporated in this recipe we found from Popsugar.

Pumpkin Caipirinha

½ lime, cut into 4 pieces
½ oz. Agave nectar
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (or ½ oz. 
ginger liqueur)
1 ½ oz. Cachaca
1 ½ oz. Pumpkin puree

Lime wheel


  • Muddle the lime, agave nectar, and fresh ginger in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.

  • Add cachaca, pumkin puree, and ice. Shake until thoroughly mixed and chilled.

  • Strain into a glass filed with ice, and garnish with grated nutmeg and a lime wheel.

You’ll note that another star player in this drink is ginger, which we also love in our Ginger Sidecar and Poire Au Gingembre.

Another route

Even if you’re more of a beer lover, you can find ways to bring in some fall spice other than just sampling a special brew.  Go for the tri-fecta of apples, pumpkin, and cinnamon with your beer and bourbon in this little delight from Cooking and Beer

8 ounces good-quality bourbon
9 oz. apple cider
2 ½ oz. Lemon juice
12 ounces pumpkin ale

cinnamon sticks and cranberries for garnish


  • In a cocktail shaker, shake together the bourbon, apple cider, and lemon juice.

  • Pour into 4 glasses filled with ice.

  • Pour the beer evenly into each glass.

  • Garnish with cinnamon sticks and cranberries.

There are other seasonal flavors that can surprise you, like the maple syrup in our Beer Barrel Old Fashioned.

Get spicy

We may still have temperatures hovering near 90, but soon the leaves will change color and the air will carry that crisp, cool feeling, so it’s the perfect time to spice things up. Be daring – try a cocktail with the unexpected such as pepper, rosemary, bitters, or even the more commonly used pomegranate and get a taste of fall. Be inspired to ask your mixologist for “the unusual.”

Visit 1920 Tavern in Roswell for delicious food that puts a twist on some standards and cocktails that offer something new and different.