Fall Cocktails + Bitters on The Morning Brew (Video)

Here’s the video clip from May 14th of my live segment on The Morning Brew with Larry Ahrens in Albuquerque. Remember you can find the recipes that I made on the show (Mapple Punch and Scotch/Soda/Cranberry) here.

Recipes from the Morning Brew 11/20/13

morning brew logo Here are the simple fall cocktail recipes I shared live on The Morning Brew with Larry Ahrens in Albuquerque.

Mapple Punch

  • 1 oz maple whiskey
  • 2 oz unfiltered apple cider
  • stir and serve over ice in an old fashioned glass
  • want to make it a full-blown punch? mix 1 bottle of whiskey with 2 bottles of cider!

scotch soda cranberry

Scotch, Soda, and Cranberry

  • 1 1/2 oz scotch
  • 1 oz club soda
  • 2 dashes of Cranberry bitters

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Tequonic Cocktail

tequonic cocktail

Tonic water isn’t just a handy mixer with gin (though that’s the most common). You can substitute any base liquor for gin and see how it works with tonic water. This cocktail is a fun variation on a margarita, as the tonic water takes the place of the sweet triple sec. Enjoy!


  • in an old fashioned glass filled with ice, add:
  • 2 oz tequila
  • juice and shell of 1/2 a lime
  • top with tonic water

White Lion Cocktail

white lion cocktail

I promise this cocktail’s name precedes the amazing hair metal band of the 1980s and 90s. But every time I make it, I still think of them anyways.

White Lion Cocktail

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • 1/2 tsp grenadine
  • 1 1/2 oz white rum
  • shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Orange Blossom Special

orange blossom special cocktail

“Look a-yonder comin’
Comin’ down that railroad track
Hey, look a-yonder comin’
Comin’ down that railroad track
It’s the Orange Blossom Special
Bringin’ my baby back…” ~ Johnny Cash, Orange Blossom Special

Gin and orange juice make a great flavor combination, and I’ve begun to regularly prefer gin over vodka in my Screwdrivers. A while back, I had a spicy gin that made a particularly great combination with orange: Seattle’s Big Gin. Here’s an awesome, simple, tasty gin-and-orange cocktail you can try at home:

Orange Blossom Special

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp powdered sugar
  • shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with a tiny orange wheel (I used a Cutie)

Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack Tennessee Cider

winter jack daniel's

Arriving for winter is a seasonal version of Jack Daniel’s that’s meant to be drunk hot: Winter Jack Tennessee Cider. Wrapped in a snowy-white label, Winter Jack is lighter in color than it’s namesake, and considerably lighter in alcohol: just 15% vs. Jack’s usual 40%.

Depending on where you are in the world, this will either be called Tennessee Cider or Tennessee Apple Whiskey Punch, but it’s the same Winter Jack regardless of the subtitle. It’s described on the label as “a seasonal blend of apple cider liqueur & Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey,” and it ends up taking just like that: a little Jack, a little apple, some cinnamon and spice.

Really, Winter Jack is made to be an easy cider for a snowy day: pour it in a coffee mug, heat it up, drink and repeat. Winter Jack will run you $15-20 a bottle, and there are 30 states that it’ll be distributed to in the U.S., though the list excludes my home state of New Mexico, so we’ll have to take a road trip to Colorado or Texas to get some.

Devil’s Snare Cocktail

devils snare cocktail

“Stop moving! I know what this is — it’s Devil’s Snare!”

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you this year’s Halloween cocktail: a Devil’s Snare. Green and wicked just like the fictional plants themselves, this cocktail is not for those who are easily frightened!

…or for those who hate licorice flavor.

One thing that makes the presentation so cool with this drink is you get to make your own Halloween sugar using Angostura bitters. White sugar and several dashes of Angostura makes for the perfect orange sugar rim.

orange rimming sugar

Devil’s Snare (by Greg Mays)

  • 1 1/5 oz Agwa de Bolivia
  • 1 oz Absinthe
  • shake on ice,
  • strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with orange sugar

Cathead Fall Vodkas

cathead pumpkin spice and pecan vodkas

Cathead Vodka out of Mississippi has released 2 seasonal flavored vodkas to go along with their year-round vodka and honeysuckle vodka. While flavored vodkas often border on insanity, Cathead Pumpkin Spice and Cathead Pecan are a bit more calm and noble.

Cathead on it’s own is a very good vodka, so these flavors have a quality backbone to build on. Of these two, pecan is more subtle and natural-tasting – the pumpkin spice variety makes a great cocktail, but on its own, the flavor is a little overwhelming and maybe a little imitation.

Here are two great cocktails to use your Cathead seasonals in:

Fall On Me (by Greg Mays)

  • 1 1/2 oz Cathead Pumpkin Spice
  • 1 1/2 oz Art in the Age Snap
  • 1 oz cream
  • shake on ice and pour into a chilled cocktail glass
  • garnish with nutmeg

Summer’s Gone Soda (by Greg Mays)

  • 2 oz Cathead Pecan
  • 1 oz caramel liqueur (like Lovoka or Godiva)
  • serve on the rocks and top with club soda
  • garnish with a cherry

Bees vs Trees: Maple Whiskey

maple whiskies

This week we’re doing a two-part series called Bees vs. Trees, in which I taste a bunch of honey whiskies (the Bees) and maple whiskies (the Trees). Today, the Trees get the spotlight as maple is a fairly new whiskey flavor that’s gaining popularity. Just as an educational note, there is a very blurry line between whether these are, by definition, flavored whiskies or strong liqueurs, since they usually have added sugars as well.

I imagine you’ve experienced the fact that the smell of maple really dominates the air when you’ve got some out. These whiskeys are no different: just an open bottle of one of these is enough to fill your entire house with the smell of maple. Surprisingly, though, while maple gets all up in your senses, the flavor that gets delivered to your tongue is much more tame, which may also be because most of these (unlike their Bee brethren) are 40% ABV or higher.

Cabin Fever Maple 

  • Cost: $20
  • Description: “A 3 year old whisky that is infused with real grade B dark maple.”
  • Alcohol: 40%
  • The flavor experience with Cabin Fever can be summed up in one word: butterscotch. It dominates your palate, it’s creamy, it’s rich, and from start to finish, this is a butterscotch experience. It seems like a great fit in a hot, boozy tea this winter – I’m working on a recipe right now.

Crown Royal Maple Finished

  • Cost: $25
  • Description: “Fine DeLuxe Maple Flavored Whisky.”
  • Alcohol: 40%
  • Truthfully, I am not a fan of Crown Royal and generally don’t have it in my home bar. This variety is nice and strong, and sweet maple is all in the smell. The whiskey itself is more of a drier, nuttier experience, and does not align with the initial smell, since it’s much more subtle and strong. We liked it better than “regular” Crown, and I imagine this pairing well with a cigar. The bottle comes is a cool brown version of the iconic Crown bag, too. #bonus

Knob Creek Smoked Maple

  • Cost: $30
  • Description: “Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey with natural flavors.”
  • Alcohol: 45%
  • Alright, tell the kids to leave the room, because it’s serious whiskey time. Knob Creek is the highest % alcohol of any of the Bees or Trees, and it delivers. While there is certainly the maple smell wandering out of the bottle, this is a serious whiskey at a serious alcohol level. There is only the faintest trace of maple on the finish, and drinking this reminded me some of my Maple Old Fashioned: good whiskey, a little maple. Knob Creek may be the only option from this whole series for stuffy or serious whiskey sippers.

Jim Beam Maple

  • Cost: $16
  • Description: “Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey infused with natural flavors.”
  • Alcohol: 35%
  • The only brand in this series to play for both teams, Beam delivers a maple version of their classic bourbon. While the label says maple, we found it carried more of a toasted marshmallow experience through the senses – less maple, and more…..just sweet. I imagine there will be several appearances of Beam Maple in Fall cocktails, and it’s probably a better fit as a mixer than a sipper.