20th October 2015

While autumn may spell the abrupt end of sleeveless t-shirts and the dreaded return of the parka, it's also a time for taking advantage of the unique flavours that characterise the season. Autumn, after all, is defined by the agricultural produce of the season: before we adopted the French automne, those of us that were alive in Old English times used to call the season hærfest, or "harvest". Here are 5 delicious cocktails to introduce at your autumn events that make the most of the flavours of hærfest.

1. Apple Cider Margarita

Apple cider is in abundance this time of year, while tequila is in abundance pretty much year-round, according to my kitchen cabinet. Another fall favourite, cinnamon, brings a warmth to the sweet cider and bitter tequila.

Get the recipe here.

2. Cranberry Old Fashioned

Cranberry sauce is, of course, a staple of festive meals, as are soggy Brussels sprouts and family strife. But cranberries are also outstanding in this rejig of a classic whiskey cocktail, the Old Fashioned, in a muddle of bourbon, bitters, sugar and our special guest: fresh cranberries.

Find out how to make it here.

3. Pumpkin Martini

There is perhaps no fruit more reminiscent of autumn than the pumpkin. There is also no fruit more orange than the pumpkin – apart from the orange, perhaps. This sweet seasonal martini combines vodka and vanilla with pumpkin spice and pumpkin purée, and a touch of milk to make this autumn beauty.

Check it out here.

4. Dark and Spooky

There are numerous Halloweeny takes on classic cocktails – like the Bloody Maria and the Devilled Margarita – but an easy favourite is a twist on the Dark and Stormy, where ginger ale is just replaced with ginger beer, making for a hotter, throatier burn.

See the unfathomably simple recipe here.

5. Sriracha-Honey Hot Toddy

If you really want to feel the burn, though, this is the one for you. It blends the notoriously hot Sriracha sauce with honey, ginger and lemon, brought to a simmer with a splash of whiskey, so that the heat of both the temperature and the spice are felt in full force.

The bold and brave can find the recipe here.