The return of classic flavours like pumpkin, cinnamon, apple, and nutmeg is a sure sign that autumn is on its way. Whether it’s a boozy take on your favourite café’s hot chocolate or a cocktail that draws more subtly from the tastes of the season, autumn is a great time to make some warming alcoholic tipples.
To help you get inspired as the evenings get colder, bespoke gift hamper company Bottled & Boxed shares three delicious cocktail recipes to get cosy with.
Pumpkin old fashioned
Since it was introduced back in 2003, Starbucks’ famous Pumpkin Spice Latte has become synonymous with the start of autumn. So, what better inspiration is there for your seasonal cocktails than this iconic drink?
A whisky-based recipe is a great way to bring some heat and spice from classic flavours while still enjoying a light, short cocktail. Refreshingly easy, this tipple just requires a shot of bourbon whiskey, half a shot of Cointreau, a tablespoon of maple syrup, two tablespoons of pumpkin puree, and a dash of aromatic bitters. After combining everything in a cocktail shaker with ice, double strain this mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any pieces of puree. Serve in a chilled tumbler with a large block of ice and add a twist of orange peel or a sprig of rosemary for decoration.
Salted caramel rum hot chocolate
Perfect as an after-dinner treat while you settle in for a movie night, a salted caramel hot chocolate is even better with a shot of rum. This makes it a warming autumn drink in more ways than one! The best hot chocolates are made the old-fashioned way, so be sure to make this one in a saucepan and use real melted chocolate.
Start by mixing 25ml of dark or spiced rum and two tablespoons of caramel together in a small bowl. To make this drink extra indulgent, you could also use dulce de leche, which is a thicker kind of caramel made with sugar and whole or condensed milk.
After simmering 150ml of whole milk in a saucepan — or a dairy alternative that’s thick enough — add 50g of chopped milk chocolate and stir until it’s all melted. Take the pan off the heat and add the rum and caramel mixture with a good pinch of sea salt. Pour this into your favourite mug and serve (marshmallows optional).
Chai espresso martini
For a drink that has all the flavours of autumn but is a little less sweet, try shaking up a chai espresso martini. The bitterness from the coffee and the herbal notes of the chai are perfectly balanced with honey and creamy coconut milk, making it the perfect seasonal tipple without being overly rich.
Start by making a batch of chai honey syrup. Never fear, this is simpler than it sounds! Simply steep four chai tea bags in boiling water for ten minutes before removing the bags and adding half a cup of honey. After heating for five minutes, stir in a teaspoon of vanilla extract and let this syrup cool — this recipe makes enough for around six cocktails, depending on how sweet you like your drinks.
Add a tablespoon of your chai syrup to a shaker with three tablespoons of good-quality vodka, three tablespoons of Kahlua, a shot of espresso, and 30ml of canned coconut milk. Shake this with plenty of ice for at least a minute to get the signature foam and add a final flourish with a pinch of nutmeg and star anise.
“Perfect for getting cosy during chilly evenings or celebrating Bonfire Night, kickstart your autumn by shaking up some cocktails inspired by the flavours of the season. Depending on your sweet tooth, you might add a nip of your favourite liqueur to a rich hot chocolate or make a tall drink that pays homage to the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte.
“There’s so much to enjoy at this time of year, from crisp apples to spicy cinnamon and nutmeg. Whatever your favourite seasonal flavour is, you can transform it into a delicious cocktail with a little creativity. As with all cocktails, using a high-quality spirit can make all the difference to the taste and finish of your drink, so be sure to choose a respected brand to get the most from your autumnal spices.”– Steve King, Managing Director of Bottled & Boxed