As the light, sweet slurps of summer fade into fond memories (I’m thinking specifically of you, frozé), we’re ushering in thoughts of fall boots, our best leather jackets and, of course, our new go-to fall-flavored cocktail.
In this golden age of mixology, we’re seeing creative and culinary-minded barkeeps revered with celebrity status. Their surgical precision in preparation, combined with a curation of quality spirits and botanicals, means that ordering a cocktail is like having your own little piece of art. We can’t all be experts, but most of us can follow a recipe.
But what to choose? All these fall flavors and textures—think anise and cinnamon, apples and pears, creamy and warm—practically scream “autumn!” and flannel and fireplaces. This highly unscientific quiz, which measures flavor preferences, culture quotient, and lifestyle choices, is a good place to start. (And if you’re not feeling particularly boozy this season, you can explore equally delicious mocktails, hangover-free.) It’s also good to have some basic bar tools on hand, such as a shaker, wine/beer opener, mixing vessel (you can use a French press replacement glass canister for this), long-handled bar spoon, ice strainer, measuring jigger and a hand citrus juicer and zester.
To find your perfect autumnal cocktail, answer these questions with whatever sounds the most correct, and keep track of which ones you choose:
Your favorite holiday movie is:
Favorite Thanksgiving pie:
A most perfect fall weekend includes:
Your favorite celebrity couple of all time is:
Your favorite breed of dog is:
To score and find your perfect fall signature cocktail, see which answers you chose the most frequently. If your answers seemed to be evenly distributed, the obvious solution is to make them all!
If you answered mostly A, try this Apple Cider Sangria from Lively Table. It puts your farm-fresh cider to work, plus it provides generous flexibility with your added flavors (calling for maple syrup or another sweet complementary taste).
If you answered mostly B, go for the Pumpkin Pie Martini from We Are Not Martha. You’ll get the entire pumpkin-pie flavor hit without any of the “I can’t believe I just ate the whole thing” sugar coma. It’s a bit involved, so make a huge batch and invite friends to share.
If you answered mostly C, the Campfire Sling is your thing. Originating at Los Angeles’ storied Water Grill, it’s simple yet dramatic, with its rye whiskey base, chocolate bitters and a scorched—dare I say it?—orange twist. (Warning: please do not set yourself on fire for a festive garnish; it’s not worth it.)
If you answered mostly D, the warming and super cozy Dirty Chai Cocktail is for you, combining coffee with Indian spices. This recipe from Dishing Up the Dirt calls for whisky, but you could also use rum to great effect. Also, there’s nut butter in here. Who knew you could do that?
If you answered mostly E, the Smoky Pear & Ginger Margarita from Food52 is probably your go-to jam, playing the bitters, ginger, lime, tequila and mezcal off the subtle sweetness of pear. If you’re not into smoky flavors, just double up on the regular tequila and omit the mezcal.
Drink up, enjoy and make sure you or your guests have a safe way to get home.