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Jump into October with these crisp, fall-flavored cocktail recipes

Spice up your semester with these festively fall cocktails and mocktails.  – Photo by Patrick Fore / Unsplash

As an amateur mixer, I'm always looking for new and inventive drinks to serve my guests at parties or hangouts. But when you look up recipes online, the ingredients can be expensive and the instructions too complicated.

So, if you’re looking for drinks to add to your menu for a party this fall or maybe for a movie night with your friends, I’ve made the perfect list. These cocktails are simple, fall-themed and delicious!

Reminder to drink responsibly, and if you’re not 21 or older, I've also made mocktail versions as a substitution.

Cranberry Fall Mule

This drink was inspired by a longtime favorite of mine: an autumn-themed Moscow Mule. This cocktail is fresh, fruity and tastes like a brisk fall day in a cup.

While you might see the name for this recipe and think of cranberry juice immediately, I find that actual juice overpowers the other flavors. Instead, I recommend you use cranberry-flavored vodka.

Traditionally, Moscow mules are served in specific copper mugs, so if you want that extra attention to detail, you can purchase a set of four on Amazon for $20.

Add ice to the cups and pour about an ounce and a half of the vodka with about four ounces of ginger beer and two to three ounces of apple cider and stir. Depending on the mugs or cups you use, you may want to adjust ounces!

It might not seem necessary, but a fresh lime wedge can really take this drink up a notch. And if you really want to impress your guests, add a sprig of fresh rosemary to the top and serve!

For the mocktail version, take out the vodka and add a splash of cranberry juice so it doesn’t take over the drink.

Hot Apple Fireball

This is the most simple drink on the list and is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a nice autumn cocktail but is too lazy to bartend. If you're making these for a party, you can heat the apple cider in a Crockpot or on the stove, but I prefer to heat them up in the microwave and then add my spirits.

For this recipe, fill a mug with your favorite brand of cider, leaving a little room for the other ingredients. Add an ounce and a half of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky and stir. For a little pizzazz, you can add some whipped cream and sprinkle some fresh or dried orange zest on top. I also like to add a cinnamon stick on the side because it really gives it that "fall" look.

If you’re interested in a mocktail version, you can replace the Fireball with a pump or two of cinnamon syrup. Torani makes a great one if you need it and makes for the perfect addition to your morning coffee. These ciders are perfect on chilly, quiet nights while watching scary movies or studying for midterms!

Pumpkin Spiced Espresso Martini

If you're a fan of Starbucks' fall classic, this Espresso Martini version is perfect for you!

I recommend grabbing some martini glasses for this, but it's obviously still delicious without it. I found this set of six on Amazon, but I bought mine at the Dollar Store, and they’re surprisingly sturdy.

To make it simple, you can use your favorite cold brew instead of actually brewing the coffee. Add about an ounce and a half of vanilla vodka (or regular), half an ounce of coffee liqueur, two ounces of cold brew, two ounces of coffee creamer and a teaspoon or so of pumpkin spice puree into a shaker with ice. Pour into the martini glasses and add a garnish of coffee beans if you’d like.

For a mocktail version, you can take out the vodka and coffee liquor and add half an ounce of vanilla extract, as it'll have a similar taste to the liqueur.

As someone who's 21 and a big fan of the fall season, I'm always on the lookout for new signature seasonal cocktails. So, if you’re trying to find new autumn drinks, these recipes won’t be too difficult or expensive. Happy fall and happy drinking!

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