Whether hosting a harvest or Halloween party, planning a holiday meal, or just looking to spice up your average Fall Friday Night libations, these harvest season and Halloween-themed cocktails made with local Sonoma County spirits and ingredients are sure to impress. From cold and hot Gravenstein apple and pumpkin-spice inspired libations to colorfully wicked brews and autumnal twists on classics, there’s a cocktail on this here that is sure to kindle inspiration.
Even better? The spirits and many of the other ingredients used in the following cocktails are made locally!
Dry Ice Tip: Adding dry ice to any fall or harvest season-inspired cocktail makes it look and feel like something from the cauldron (making it smoke and bubble), without having to sacrifice fall flavors or quality ingredients, making it easy to whip up a batch of spooky cocktails that are truly delicious as well as seasonally appropriate.
How to use dry ice in cocktails:
- Buy the dry ice 1-2 hours before making the cocktail, as it doesn’t last very long in the freezer or refrigerator.
- Break the dry ice up into smaller chunks or pieces (drop the bag on the ground or hit it with a mallet).
- Handle the dry ice with gloves and tongs (do not touch it)!
- For a punch bowl or large pitcher of cocktails, a couple of 4- or 5-inch pieces of dry ice is the perfect amount.
- Drop the dry ice into the cocktail and stir. The dry ice will immediately start bubbling and emitting whisps of white “smoke.” Let the dry ice evaporate before serving.
- Dry ice is perfectly safe once it’s in your drink!
This stunning bright-lavender cocktail is the belle of any ball, equally at home at a Halloween party as an afternoon cocktail gathering. But there’s something about that electric purple that conjures images of a wicked stepmother …
- 1-½ oz Young and Yonder Spirits Classic Vodka
- 1 oz Butterfly Pea Flower and lavender tea *available for purchase at Young and Yonder
- 3-4 drops of Flora Luna Honey Lavender bitters
- 1 oz lime juice
- Club soda
Mix the vodka, tea and bitters. Add ice and top with club soda. Stir in lime juice and watch the drink turn from blue to purple! Garnish with lime wheel.
*Something Wicked cocktail kits can be purchased at Young and Yonder via their website or at their tasting room.
Death by Decaf
Young and Yonder’s unique amaro brings a very special citrus and floral complexity to this classic drink. This cocktail is like enjoying an espresso and citrus biscotti on a crisp fall afternoon – but with “Death” in the name, it also works quite well on Halloween cocktail menus.
- 1 oz Y/Y Spirits Classic Vodka
- ¾ oz Y/Y Spirits California Amaro
- ¾ oz Plank Coffee (based in Healdsburg) espresso
- ½ oz Cocktail Pantry simple syrup
- ½ oz half & half (or nondairy milk/cream of preference)
Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice, shake and strain over a large ice cube in a rocks glass and garnish with an orange twist.
Toil and Trouble
This creamy, green, spiced, bourbon, apple and lemon cocktail can masquerade as eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat, toe of dog …
- 1-½ oz Young and Yonder Straight Bourbon
- 1 oz apple juice
- 1 oz lemon juice
- ½ Cocktail Pantry Spiced Green Syrup *made by Young and Yonder
Shake all ingredients in shaker with ice. Strain into cup and garnish with apple slice.
*Toil and Trouble cocktail kits can be purchased at Young and Yonder via their website or at their tasting room.
Vampire’s Kiss (with sparkling wine)
Ditch the grenadine-heavy, overly sweet Vampire’s Kiss for this light, bright, pretty version using sparkling wine.
- 1 ounce Sonoma Syrup Co. Raspberry Simple Syrup
- 1-½ ounces Hanson vodka
- 3 oz unsweetened cranberry juice
- 3 oz sparkling wine or sparkling rosé *Try Gloria Ferrer
In a cocktail shaker, mix raspberry syrup with vodka, cranberry juice, and plenty of ice until very cold. Strain and pour into a coupe class. Top with sparkling wine.
Optional: Coat the rims of your glasses with simple syrup (on a small plate) and sugar (on a different plate) for an extra kiss of sweetness.
Pumpkin Bourbon Smash
Who needs a pumpkin spice latte when you can have a pumpkin spiced cocktail? This Pumpkin Bourbon Smash from Griffo has pumpkin pie spiced goodness with a whiskey kick. It is sure to be a hit at any harvest, Halloween, or fall-holiday cocktail or dinner party.
- 2 oz Griffo Distillery Stony Point Whiskey
- 1 oz pumpkin spice syrup (Sonoma Syrup Company makes one)
- ¼ oz lemon juice
- 4 oz soda water
- Lemon wedges
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add pumpkin spice syrup, bourbon and lemon juice for the cocktail. Shake well. Fill rimmed rocks glass with ice. Strain the cocktail into the glass.
Top with soda water. Give the cocktail one final stir and serve.
You can either purchase these ingredients separately to make this cocktail at home or simply buy a Pumpkin Bourbon Smash Cocktail kit from Griffo, which includes everything you need to make 12 cocktails.
Apple Brandy Toddy
A toddy with both historic and distinctive Sonoma County tweaks on a classic: Gravenstein apple brandy and apple brandy butter. Apple toddies were very popular in the early-1800s in the U.S. until Prohibition, and Gravenstein apples have a long history in Sonoma County.
- 1-½ oz Barber Lee Gravenstein Apple Brandy
- 1 oz Lala’s Apple Brandy Butter *available for purchase in Barber Lee’s tasting room as well as online via their website store (starting mid-October), and made by Lala’s Jam Bar
- Juice of half a lemon
- 4-5 oz hot water (to taste)
Add boiling water to a glass or mug. Stir in the apple brandy, apple butter, and lemon. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or slice of apple.
Fight Like a Girl Pomegranate Gin and Tonic
Sipsong Spirits founder Tara Jasper lost her mother to breast cancer. She created the Fight Like a Girl Pomegranate Gin and Tonic with the goal of sharing information about genetics and breast cancer to aid in the fight against breast cancer. This seasonal gin and tonic is a colorful, festive take on a classic gin and tonic.
- 2 oz Sipsong Indira Gin
- ½ oz pomegranate grenadine *find recipe below
- ½ oz fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 oz light tonic
Shake gin, lemon, and grenadine with ice for 30 seconds. Add tonic and 10 fresh pomegranate seeds then pour over ice into a Collins glass. If you don’t have the pomegranate seeds, you can use a round slice of lemon instead.
Pomegranate Grenadine Recipe
- 16 oz pomegranate juice
- 16 oz sugar
- 2 oz pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon orange flower water
Heat pomegranate juice enough to melt sugar on the stovetop. Add sugar molasses, and orange flower water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Will keep in the refrigerator for one month.
Grand Orange Hot Toddy
A classic with a twist, this orange brandy toddy from Prohibition Spirits is the perfect drink to warm your spirits on a crisp, fall night.
- 2 oz Chauvet Grand Orange Brandy Liqueur (made by Prohibition Spirits in Sonoma)
- 1 tsp Chateau Sonoma Pure Honey
- Boiling water
Add Grand Orange Brandy Liqueur into mug and fill with boiling water. Stir in honey and garnish with lemon wheel, star anise and cinnamon stick.
Originally created for the Gravenstein Apple Fair, this Sonoma County-ized gimlet from Spirit Works Distillery is simultaneously light and fresh while also reminiscent of apple pie.
- 1-½ oz Spirit Works Distillery Navy Strength Gin
- ¾ oz lime juice (fresh-squeezed is best)
- ½ oz Grenadine
- 1 heaping teaspoon Fourteen Magpies Gravenstein Apple Jelly
- 3 dashes Bitter Housewife Lime & Coriander Bitters
Shake everything with ice, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an apple chip (optional).
Written by Brooke Herron
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