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After the endless glasses of rosé, fruity cocktails, and frozen margaritas, it's time to throw in the (beach) towel and say hello to fall. Crisp and cool autumn nights call for comforting cocktails made with darker spirits like smoky mezcal, bitter amaro, and — our personal favorite — whiskey. To avoid the same whiskey sour recipe (come on — we know you can do better than that), we've rounded up the best whiskey cocktails to get you ready for fall.
Note: We've listed ingredients you can easily shop online, but perishables and produce we recommend buying in stores.
This cocktail is served at New York City's upscale Mexican restaurant and bar Bodega Negra at Dream Downtown. It's boozy, slightly spicy, and packed with classic cold-weather flavors, including caramel, cherry, and oak. A lighter and slightly citrusy scotch like Glenmorangie 10 works best in this recipe, and we recommend serving this stunning libation in your fanciest coupe.
Mix all ingredients in a chilled coupe glass. Garnish sides of glass with salt.
Recipe courtesy of Inigo Salazar, Bodega Negra at Dream Downtown
It doesn't get much more autumnal than this comforting cocktail featuring Laphroaig Select Scotch Whisky, apple brandy, maple syrup, and bitters from Los Angeles-based mixologist Devon Tarby. The sweetness from the maple syrup and slight peaty smokiness from the scotch make this a well-balanced and damn delicious drink for fall.
Needle in the Hay
Stir all ingredients together with ice until slightly chilled but still boozy. Strain over fresh ice into an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Recipe courtesy of Los Angeles Mixologist Devon Tarby
This riff on the classic Hot Toddy from Angry Orchard is the perfect in-between weather beverage to have on-hand as the nights start to get a bit cooler. Hard cider adds extra crispness and acidity to the traditional water- or tea-based libation, mingling with Irish whiskey in a boozy yet savory blend. Now, all you'll need is the perfect glass mug.
Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and set at low heat. Allow to heat up and then serve and garnish with a lemon wheel studded with cloves. If using a stovetop, add all ingredients to a small saucepan and simmer over low heat. Be careful not to allow the mixture to get too hot, because the alcohol will boil off.
Recipe courtesy of Angry Orchard
Served at New York's The Rickey at Dream Midtown, this Walnut Sazerac provides a fun twist on the classic absinthe-laced cocktail. Walnut liqueur adds a nutty warmth to spicy rye whiskey, while Peychaud's bitters add just the right amount of subtle citrus.
Chill a rocks glass and coat with absinthe. In mixing glass add Dickel Rye, Nocello Walnut Liqueur, and the Peychaud’s bitters. Add ice and stir to temperature. Strain into chilled, absinthe-coated glass. Garnish with lemon.
Recipe courtesy of Adam Koelb, The Rickey at Dream Midtown
This cocktail is served at New York City's famed Irish whiskey bar The Dead Rabbit. It's boozy, slightly spicy, and packed with classic cold-weather flavors, including ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg. A classic Irish whiskey like Teeling works best in this recipe, and we recommend serving this stunning libation in your favorite old-fashioned glass on the rocks. Cheers!
Stir all ingredients in mixing tin with ice. Strain into an old-fashioned glass over a single big rock. Garnish with orange oils.
Recipe courtesy of Jillian Vose, The Dead Rabbit NYC
This deceptively simple three-ingredient stirred cocktail comes from Jeppe Nothlev of Copenhagen's experimental cocktail club Helium Bar. Single-malt scotch, amber vermouth, and sherry work together to create layers of rich and slightly smoky flavor — perfect to sip by the campfire.
Wings of Orkney
Stir all ingredients together and serve in a small glass. Garnish with two thin slices of apple, caramelized with brown sugar and licorice root. Pin the two slices together to form wings.
Recipe courtesy of Jeppe NothlevHelium Bar
This flavorful whiskey cocktail from Chicago mixologist Patrick Natola takes a traditional Negroni and turns the recipe on its head, subbing in Scotch whisky for gin. What better way to transition from summer to fall than with a clever Negroni riff like this?
Smoke on the Water
Stir all ingredients together with ice until slightly chilled but still boozy. Strain over fresh ice. Serve up or on the rocks.
Recipe courtesy of Chicago mixologist Patrick Natola
From mixologist Sean Taylor of Dallas-based bar The Standard Pour comes this boozy cocktail. From the richness of the house barrel-aged vermouth to the bitterness of the Fernet and Bruto Americano, this whiskey cocktail is most delicious sipped after a meal as a potent digestif or nightcap.
Stir all ingredients together with ice until slightly chilled but still boozy. Strain over fresh ice. Stir and serve up in a coupe. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.
Recipe courtesy of Sean Taylor, The Standard Pour
This recipe from New York City's East Village cocktail bar Drexler's combines herbal and spicy Jägermeister with smooth bourbon, citrus, and spices for a warming beverage designed for the chilly nights of fall. We love the addition of star anise for the subtle baking spice sweetness in both taste and aroma.
Rim With a Few
Build all ingredients in a shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain in a chilled coupe glass that's been rimmed with your choice of cinnamon, ginger, or pulverized orange peel. Garnish with an apple slice and star anise.
Recipe courtesy of Drexler's, New York City