Red Nose Punch. Helen Rosner
Whether you’re throwing an autumn cocktail party or looking for something to serve with Thanksgiving appetizers, drinks that can be mixed ahead in large quantities and served in a punch bowl or pitcher save you from having to play bartender all evening. Parties should be about spending time with your guests, not mixing drinks. From smoky mezcal to sweet sherry, we’ve rounded up our favorite fall party cocktail recipes.
Cranberries are one of our favorite flavors of the colder months, and their sweet-tart flavor is great for cocktails. Our Pawleys Rum Punch is both bright and dark— appropriate for any time of year. It’s made with dark and gold rums, cranberry, orange, and pineapple juice, and a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg. Our Red Nose Punch is a Christmas drink, but your guests will love it at Thanksgiving. A cinnamon-spiced mix of bourbon, cranberry juice, and beer, it’s kept cold in the bowl with a ring of ice studded with cranberries.
We like complexity in our fall cocktails. The sweet gin symphony certainly satisfies. Starting with a gin base, you add citrus juice, a mint tea syrup, and maraschino liqueur. To get extra fancy, spray the glasses with absinthe before serving and garnish with star anise.
Find all of these drinks and more in our collection of fall party cocktail recipes.
Fish House Punch
An early American concoction created in 1732 by members of the State in Schuylkill Fishing Corporation, a Philadelphia men’s club, this schnapps-spiked, rum-based punch—whose original purpose was to keep the fellows lubricated and refreshed—still satisfies.
Sherry Season Punch
A flavorful punch that balances the bite of sherry and corn whiskey with nutty homemade orgeat syrup and fresh citrus juice.
The Canadian Cocktail
Spiced rum, with its notes of cloves, allspice, and vanilla, is complemented by the comforting fall flavors of spicy cinnamon, sweet maple syrup, and warming apple cider for a cocktail inspired by autumn in Toronto.
A Haymaker unlike any other, this one is tart and refreshing thanks to vodka, ginger beer, and muddled pears—perfect for sipping on a cool fall evening. The recipe makes two cocktails; increase proportionally to serve more.
Sweet Gin Symphony
A lively gin-based punch that captures complex seasonal flavors with layers of citrus, mint, and anise, thanks to an absinthe rinse sprayed in each glass before serving.
The Cherry Maple Leaf
The rich, velvety color of this cocktail is reminiscent of fall foliage, while its warming base of brandy and maple wards off autumn’s chill. Mix up a large batch in advance to serve more than one.
Horse & Carriage
New York City bar The Daily serves this lightly sweet, effervescent gin-based punch made with chamomile tea and sparkling wine. Created by mixologist Naren Young, it was inspired by classic holiday punches but is easily adapted to any season—try it in fall garnished with apples, pears, and cinnamon sticks; in winter with citrus slices and pomegranate; and in spring with edible flowers.
In this cocktail, cognac, apple brandy, and an apple-mint vermouth are combined for a decidedly autumnal cocktail. Becherovka, a spicy, bittersweet Czech liqueur, lends a complex herbal flavor; dashes of apple bitters amp up the fruit aromatics.
The classic gin and tonic gets a seasonal twist from a splash of pear and allspice liqueurs.
This brightly spiced punch recipe includes gin, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, and allspice dram.
Here the tartness of pure cranberry juice combines well with the earthy heat of ginger beer and not-too-sweet spiced rum.
Pawleys Rum Punch
Contributor Marshall Bright’s father makes this boozy fruit punch for the family every year during their annual beach vacation in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. A sprinkle of fresh nutmeg on top compliments the molasses-like flavor of the rum. Use freshly squeezed orange juice—it adds a bright flavor the bottled stuff can’t match. Get the recipe for Pawleys Rum Punch »
Throughout the Caribbean, rum punches flecked with nutmeg have been served steadily since the colonial era.