There is something to be said for a great beverage. Whether it’s with or without alcohol, a good drink has the power to cool you, to warm you, to excite you…but most importantly, it often brings people together.
Having bartended and managed restaurants for a large portion of my working life, I absolutely love mixing up a fine cocktail. They are an exciting way to really up your game when hosting.
Brasserie sign $19.99
I prefer to make as many ingredients from scratch as I can, and if you put in the work ahead of time, it truly only takes a moment to put together some fantastic drinks when company is over.
Making flavoured syrups can drastically alter an otherwise ordinary drink, and they’re super easy to make! To make simple syrup combine equal parts of sugar and water and simmer to dissolve the sugar. To make a flavoured syrup, it’s good to simmer a little longer to allow the flavour to build. Much like tea, allow the ingredients to steep on the stovetop for a while. Some fun variations used to create a nice autumn seasonal cocktail are rosemary (add a couple of large sprigs), vanilla bean or cinnamon (adding one or two beans/sticks is plenty). These are just suggestions though, there are countless options! Most simple syrups will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks (if I’m being honest though, I’ve pushed this ‘expiration date’ many times, just use your discretion).
The first drink I want to share with you is Mulled Apple Cider. It is great to serve at a party as it’s made in advance & in a large batch in the crockpot. So, when guests arrive, it’s ready to sip. And the aroma that fills the house is better than any candle you could buy… it is divine. I like to keep my cider in the crockpot so it stays warm for the evening, and I create a little station alongside it with dark rum, bourbon or whiskey for spiking. That’s another fantastic feature, the base has no alcohol, so it can be served to anyone. When you drink mulled cider, it warms you from the inside. This is the quintessential autumn drink.
Honey crisp apples $7.00
MULLED APPLE CIDER
- 4 litres apple cider (preferably one that doesn’t have additional sugar or spices)
- 5-7 cinnamon sticks
- 1 medium orange
- 6 quarter inch slices of fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp whole cloves
- apple & orange slices to garnish
- *Optional ingredients to create a more complex tasting cider are:peppercorns, star anise, allspice
- Add all ingredients to crock pot(reserve garnish). Cook on low for 4 hours.
- Pour into mug and garnish with fresh oranges slice, cinnamon stick or apple slices
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, I AM a sucker for a good gin and tonic. And this Rosemary Cucumber variation is one of my favourites. I don’t know if I would classify it as super seasonal, but here in the county, cucumbers are always in season! So, for us, it’s seasonal. Also, it utilizes the fresh Rosemary you grew in the summer ( …or bought at the grocery store…wink wink).
ROSEMARY CUCUMBER G & T
- 2 oz Gin (I like Hendricks or Dillons for their botanical notes)
- 1 slice of cucumber (quartered)
- 0.5 oz rosemary simple syrup
- 2 lime wedges
- Fever Tree tonic water (or any tonic will do!)
- Add all ingredients except for soda water into a shaker with ice. Muddle if possible, or simply shake vigorously for 10 seconds. You really want to shake fast; the idea is for the ice to break down the cucumber.
- Strain and pour into a glass with ice.
- Top with soda water and garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a slice of cucumber
Recipe Source: The Kitchn
This next drink is so-o-o delicious and the dehydrated orange slices used to garnish add so much to its splendour. Honestly, I’d make the oranges…even if you don’t plan to make the drink (but, you should most definitely make the drink). The aroma they create is wonderful, and they can be used to make gorgeous garlands or added into a variety of tablescapes or candle and flower arrangements.
ORANGE CINNAMON WHISKEY SMASH
- 2 oz whiskey
- 0.5 oz cinnamon simple syrup
- 1 oz orange juice (using fresh squeezed brings this drink to another level)
- Sparkling or soda water to top
- Orange slices
- Pour whiskey, juice and cinnamon syrup in a rocks glass filled with ice.
- Top with a splash of sparkling/soda water
- Stir and garnish with orange slice and/or cinnamon stick.
Recipe Source: My Food Story
Last but certainly not least, the Chai Spice White Russian is always a crowd-pleaser. And it is such a beautiful drink to behold. This time of year, I like to make a big ol’ batch of chai syrup to keep in the fridge for whenever opportunity strikes. To make the chai syrup, add 4 chai tea bags to a cup of boiling water and allow to steep for 10 mins. Add in a tsp of vanilla extract and 1/3 cup of honey and bring back to a boil for 3-5 mins. Allow to cool and refrigerate for up to a week.
Tea pot $24.99 | Saucer plate $9.99 | 40” eucalyptus spray $19.99 | Wooden beaded garland $9.99 | Marble cutting/serving board $49.99
CHAI SPICED WHITE RUSSIAN
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 oz Kahlua
- 1 oz heavy cream
- 0.5 oz chai syrup
- Combine all ingredients in rocks glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with cinnamon stick and star anise.
Recipe source: Half Baked Harvest
Wooden beaded garland $9.99
Here’s to a season filled to the brim with laughter amongst friends!