A refreshing cocktail hits the spot in sweltering summer, and a hot toddy after a long day on the slopes brings joy and cheer, but fall can be a shoulder season when it comes to cocktails.

Autumn days can be warm, but mornings are crisp, and evenings fall earlier and chillier than do summer evenings, so an icy evening G&T can be less preferable than just OG tea.

Here’s a quick roundup of options at local bars and restaurants, whether you want something to sip around a campfire at home or head out for an Instagram-worthy drink.


Ari Fishman, owner of Waterbury’s Zenbarn, has crafted three custom fall cocktails for his customers. His Feel the Bern is based on Whistlepig’s 10-year single barrel whiskey partnered with cayenne shrub, Cold Hollow Cider Mill cider and barrel-aged maple syrup.

Zenbarn’s hurricane relief fall refresher is Dunc’s Mill rum and a fall punch of cider, pomegranate, acai, Owl’s Head dried apple, garnished with Maraschino cherries. It’s simple to brew up at home, but a dollar from each purchase at Zenbarn goes to fund Hurricane Irma relief efforts in Florida.

Finally, for those craving a little calm, Zenbarn’s Gin and Chronic is quickly becoming a staple there, Fishman said. It incorporates one dose — 25 milligrams — of Luce Farm’s cannabidiol, or CBD, an oil derived from the hemp plant that some claim has calming properties. That oil is mixed with Barr Hill gin and a maple tonic for an autumnal feel.

The Reservoir

Waterbury’s Reservoir is offering an appetizing autumnal brew. Lucas Williams at the Reservoir offered his recipe for a Cold Brew Old Fashioned, a combination of bourbon and coffee suited to colorful fall evenings.

Williams’ recipe

  • 2 oz. Bulleit bourbon
  • 1 Bing cherry
  • 1 orange slice 
  • 3 dashes maple bitters
  • One-half oz. maple syrup 
  • 4 oz. homemade cold-brew coffee 

To make it at home, muddle the cherry, orange, bitters and syrup together before adding bourbon and shaking with ice. Transfer that brew to an old-fashioned glass and fill it with cold-brew coffee. Garnish with a cherry and the orange peel.

Edson Hill

A picturesque drive in Stowe leads to Edson Hill, a country inn with a bar offering a full menu of fall concoctions, including a Maple Run Margarita, with tequila, lime juice and maple syrup, with a sea salt and sumac rim, and a Garum Hot Toddy, with Bulleit rye whiskey, local honey, garam masala, cloves, and lemon juice.

Erik Stacy, general manager of Edson Hill, included a recipe for a fall cocktail easy to make at home — the Cucurbita Cooler, perfect for sweaty fall days.

Edson Hill’s recipe

  • 1.5 oz. Mount Gay Rum
  • One-half oz. Barbancourt Rum
  • 1 oz. squash syrup
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • One-half oz. allspice dram

Shake and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with nutmeg.

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