This season, find comfort in fall cocktails that kindle nostalgic autumn flavors. Celebrate the tastes of apple, spices, maple syrup, coffee, cinnamon, whiskey, bourbon and bitters in these standout combinations. Raise a glass to fall with a seasonal cocktail from some of our favorite spots around the South.
The Calvados Cooler at Soul Gastrolounge | Charlotte, NC
With its selection of tapas, which will take you on a trip around the globe, and fresh sushi, Soul Gastrolounge is a great spot to hit with a group of friends. Embrace the hip, yet cozy, setting and settle in for a cocktail. The Calvados Cooler is a cocktail that is served shaken and concocted with Calvados Apple Brandy, organic apple nectar, Sarsaparilla and rosemary. They don’t take reservations at Soul Gastrolounge, so try to grab a seat at the bar or prepare yourself for a wait.
Barrel-aged Manhattan at Husk Restaurant | Charleston, SC
Although this drink is named for one of New York City’s five boroughs, the Manhattan gives a nod to Southern tastes with the use of regional bourbons and whiskeys. Husk Restaurant, with locations in Charleston and Nashville, has mastered Southern taste not only in its food, but also in its libations. Husk’s barrel-aged Manhattan is crafted with whiskey, vermouth and bitters, which are barrel rested for 30 days. Both locations serve up handcrafted cocktails, but this specialty Manhattan can only be found on Queen Street in Charleston.
Thanksgiving Dinner at Seven Lamps | Atlanta, GA
Why have Thanksgiving dinner on a plate when you can have it in a glass? This festive slushy cocktail is crafted with vodka, cranberry, apple, lime and baking spices, which come together in a combination reminiscent of our favorite fall holiday. Seven Lamps, located in Buckhead’s Shops Around Lenox, has a rotating list of craft cocktails and seasonal slushies, including this fall favorite. Although cooler temperatures may not have you craving a frozen drink, the flavors will warm your soul.
Zippin Pippin at Alchemy Bar & Restaurant | Memphis, TN
With the arrival of fall comes the inclusion of maple syrup in and on everything we consume, including cocktails. In Alchemy’s Zippin Pippin, maple syrup is a welcome complement to the Bulleit Bourbon, apple cider and lemon that make up this autumn drink. The flavors blend together to create a harmonious seasonal beverage. Alchemy’s bar stays open until 1:30 a.m. on weekends, so stop by for a nightcap.
Southern Limerick at Pinewood Social | Nashville, TN
On a cool, fall day, there are few things we crave more than a piping hot cup of Joe. Pinewood Social has taken this craving to a new level by adding 1776 Rye, Meletti and heavy cream to its seasonal coffee. Start your day with a kick and warm up with the Southern Limerick as you bowl, sing karaoke or simply enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner.
No. 3 at Two Ten Jack | Chattanooga, TN
Located in the basement of Warehouse Row, this Japanese-inspired neighborhood pub has cocktails on tap, and currently, Two Ten Jack’s No. 3 is one we’re particularly fond of. A blend of rum, amaro, lemon, pineapple shrub and spice syrup flows out of the tap, into your glass and pairs perfectly with Two Ten Jack’s unique ramen dishes. As the temperatures keep dropping, look for changes in the cocktail menu and what is being shaken up behind the bar.
Trans-Atlantic Sour at Heritage | Richmond, VA
Sink in to the bar at Heritage, and sip on the cocktail creations of Mattias Hägglund, a top local mixologist. A reinvention of the traditional whiskey sour, this cocktail is a shaken mixture of Buffalo Trace bourbon, Ramazzotti Amaro, lemon, cane syrup and egg white, and topped with bitters. It’s a simple cocktail that is far from ordinary. Order one and try not to order a second, we dare you.
Autumn Stone at Cure | New Orleans, LA
In an effort to reintroduce patrons to an earlier time, during which the experience of having a cocktail and a bite to eat was both healthful and enjoyable, Cure is a cocktail bar that exudes sophistication. Classics and obscure classics are mixed using bitters, herbal-infused cordials, fresh herbs and more. This fall, sip on the Autumn Stone, an interpretation of Jack Rose. The fortified wine, damson plum and mulling spices blend together to create a cocktail that is perfect for the season.
El Guapo at Proof on Main | Louisville, KY
Like most Kentuckians, the bartenders at Proof on Main take their bourbon—and booze– seriously. Each season, new cocktails appear on the menu at Proof, and we are ready to get our hands on the El Guapo. Even though this is a diversion from your typical Kentucky cocktail, you will not be disappointed. The combination of beet-infused El Jimador tequila, PF Dry Curacao, agave syrup, lime and volcanic sea salt is innovative and fresh and the addition of beet helps bring the cocktail into fall.
Fog & Smoke at Local Roots | Roanoke, VA
Local Roots is located in historic Grandin Village, and is a champion for sustainable, organic, local and ethnic dining and farming. The menu changes frequently, but quality remains the same: high. The wine and beer list is extensive, and their cocktail list is complete. This time of year, be sure to order the Fog & Smoke–Foggy Ridge Pippin black cider, apple, Dewar’s Scratched Cask, citrus and smoking cinnamon.
Red Wine Sangria at Sip Tasting Room & Rooftop Bar | Greenville, SC
Although Sangria often evokes pleasant memories of summer days on the patio, Sip’s Red Wine Sangria can be enjoyed year-round. The fresh fruit, paired with a dry Spanish wine, make for a refreshing drink that is perfect for a crisp, fall day. Located on the Piazza Bergamo, above Proaxis Therapy, this rooftop bar offers views of Greenville’s Main Street.
Buena Vista Irish Coffee at Parlay Social | Lexington, KY
A list of fall cocktails would not be complete without a hot, creamy cup of Irish coffee. The folks at Parlay Social, a speakeasy-style gathering spot in Lexington, serve up one of our favorite mixtures of this classic drink. With Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, handmade whipped cream and coffee, this is a combination that cannot be beat. Stop by and order yourself a San Francisco original, hot or iced Buena Vista.
Ginger Bourbon “Fall” Down at Dyron’s Lowcountry | Birmingham, AL
Inspired by the relaxed lifestyle and the unique culinary offerings of the low country, the dishes and cocktails at Dyron’s offer an authentic taste of the South. This season, stop in for a fall cocktail with flavors of honey, lemon, ginger, saffron and bourbon. This seasonal cocktail just hit their menu and is worthy of a try.
Cortés at Bullfight | Austin, TX
Spanish tastes and flavors can be found in Bullfight’s cuisine—snacks, cured meats, cheeses, classic Spanish dishes and seafood. These flavors carry over to the bar and can be enjoyed in the modern Spanish cocktails and Spanish wines. Ask the bartender to pour you a Cortés, which blends Lustau cream sherry, Acha vermouth and orange bitters.
Naughty Scot at The Imperial Life | Asheville, NC
Tucked above Table in downtown Asheville, The Imperial Life is a cozy, intimate cocktail bar with seasonal eats and drinks. The Naughty Scot is a concoction of Salignac V.S. cognac, Drambuie, Punt e Mes vermouth-quina and Fernet-Branca–stirred and served up. The Fernet-Branca, a bitter herbal liqueur, and the Drambuie give the drink a nice bite, while the cognac provides a touch of sweetness. This drink is sure to warm you from your ears to your toes, and the aromas on the Punt e Mes will ignite your senses.
Looking for more local spots in Birmingham, Louisville, Memphis and Nashville? Visit the SB Guide.