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Weekend Cocktails

Stephen Brown

   Summer officially comes to an end September 21. Did you notice? While the heat and humidity show no sign of abating, and it is probably a little premature to bust out the Isotoners and scarves, we can at least pretend the leaves are changing to their fall colors with a few autumn-inspired cocktails.


Friday Happy Hour: Great Grapes of Fire!

   Grapes may not seem like a fall fruit, but harvest is happening as you read. And ginger probably doesn’t sound like a ready complement, but they make a pretty dynamic duo. Today is just full of surprises, isn’t it?

   Bombay Sapphire’s Ginger Grape Martini is a straight slap to the taste buds. Muddle and mix one up and get this weekend started right.

 Ginger Grape martini - Bombay Sapphire - autumn-inspired Weekend Cocktails

Ginger Grape Martini

  • 1½ parts Bombay Sapphire
  • 1½ parts white cranberry juice
  • 4 pieces of fresh ginger (½-inch cubes)
  • 8 fresh white grapes

Muddle ginger, grapes and juice in a cocktail shaker. Add Bombay Sapphire and ice; shake vigorously. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Enjoy!


*Recipe courtesy of Bombay Sapphire.


Saturday Night Fever: The Perfect Pear

   Few fruits imbue the flavor of fall as much as pear. Pears take me back to when I was child, impatiently waiting for the Harry & David delivery that officially started the Christmas countdown. Nowadays, the holidays seem to fly by in a blink, making me wax poetically about the good old days.

   Well, now that I’m wearing big boy pants, I no longer have to wait for the fruit delivery to incite fall; I simply pour some poire into an adult beverage. Grey Goose’s Wandering Poet is a superb mix of the exotic and sentiment, a great way to ease into fall and the perfect cocktail companion while perusing the Great Big Toys R Us holiday catalog, circling my Christmas wishes.

  Wandering Poet - Grey Goose La Poire - autumn-ispired weekend cocktails

Wandering Poet

  • 1½ oz. Grey Goose La Poire
  • 1 oz. Sake
  • 1 oz. Lychee puree
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • 1 strip pickled ginger

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a mint leaf.


*Recipe and image courtesy of Grey Goose.

Sunday Funday: When the weather outside is frightful ... 

   Okay, I know it’s not cold. But this summer seems endless—like 20 months long. And cripes, if retail stores can start rolling out their Halloween merchandise, I can have a cold weather cocktail. So I’m cranking down the AC, dusting off the Cosby sweater and whipping up a few piping hot Pumpkin Buttered Rums this weekend.

   This warm and buttery—that’s right, butter ... honey badger don’t care—is, well, just awesome. Cheers!


Pumpkin Buttered Rum

  Serves 6Buttered Pumpkin Rum - autumn-inspired cocktails - pumpkin cocktail

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin butter (see recipe below)
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • Salt
  • Dark rum
  • Boiling water

Mix butter, brown sugar, pumpkin butter, pumpkin spice and a pinch of salt using a mixer on a low setting. In a mug, add 2 tablespoons of the mixture and 2 oz. of rum. Fill glass with boiling water; stir to mix. Garnish with whipped cream and a light dusting of pumpkin pie spice. 


 ♦ ♦ ♦


   This recipe is a little complicated, a tad in-depth, but the end result is well worth the work. Because it is only September, some of these ingredients might be a little hard to come by, especially the pumpkin butter. The following recipe is quick and simple to whip-up that uses readily available ingredients, and the left over pumpkin butter makes for a great snack on toast.


Pumpkin Butter

  • 1 can (29 oz.) of pumpkin puree
  • 1¼ cup apple cider*
  • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup light brown sugar**
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a large saucepan, combine pumpkin puree, cider, spices and sugar. Stirring well, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes, or until thickened. STIR FREQUENTLY; this stuff will burn quickly and taste pretty awful.


*Many recipes call for apple juice. I, for one, prefer cider because it has a little extra bite. For a thicker consistency, use ¾ cup of cider; for a thinner butter, bump the dosage up—experiment.

**As for sugar, I prefer the taste of brown sugar. For those opposed, use 1 to 1½ cups of white or cane sugar.


If you would like to nominate a cocktail recipe to appear in our latest series "Weekend Cocktails," email the online editor here.

Your Weekend Cocktails - End of summer cocktails - fall inspired cocktails


Tools of the Trade

Become a master mixologist, or at least look like one, with the tools that make the trade.

Your Weekend Cocktails - Tools to Make a Pro - Williams-Sonoma


  • Muddler: This little tenderizing stick is a godsend and a must for any home bar. If fruity cocktails are in your future, the muddler is the only way to unlock fruits’ flavor.
  • Handheld Citrus Juicer: Nothing beats freshly squeezed juice, but it can be a pain. Invest in a handheld citrus juicer; they are cheap and do the trick tout de suite.
  • Cocktail Shaker: Don’t be a chump stirring your martini like a noob; purchase a nice shaker and become a master home barkeep.
  • Jigger: This little apparati will make mixing the perfect drink as easy as pie. It's equipped with 1½ oz. and ¾ oz. cups for perfectly measured pours every time.

*Pictured available at Williams-Sonoma

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January 2017