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  • Megan

2-for-1 fall cocktails: bourbon apple punch and ginger orange hot toddy

Updated: May 27, 2023

These leaves in their glowing twilight

a blazing exit;

their greatest hour.

Me in my coat

a sunny chill;

my golden hour.

That's a mini poem I wrote just now, dedicated to the epitome of autumn: the changing leaves. I’ve been known to gasp with delight when a leaf falls to the ground in front of me. What a climactic conclusion! Sometimes I whisper congratulations.

The peak fall colors alone are enough to overwhelm me, and yet there’s so much more to love about this season: The coats and boots! The apple orchards and their ciders (and cider donuts)! The pumpkins, everywhere and in everything!

And also, the reason I'm here today: the whiskey.

Its smell alone makes me want to light twenty candles and wrap myself in a wooly tartan scarf. On that note, I’m sharing with you two whiskey cocktails—one cold, apple sweet, and lightly bubbled; the other hot, honeyed, and warming.

Drink 1: Bourbon Apple Punch

What a great excuse to visit an orchard and come away with a jug of fresh cider (and um, cider donuts). I’d like to try this drink using a hard cider from Sweetland Orchard in southern Minnesota or Milk & Honey Ciders in central Minnesota.

In a glass, combine:

ice cube

1 shot (about 1.5 oz) bourbon*

2 oz (1/4 cup) apple cider or juice

2 oz vinho verde

2 oz ginger beer

*I used Scotch in the video because that's what we had—but bourbon would be my first choice, especially considering I named the cocktail after it (sheepish face).

Drink 2: Ginger Orange Hot Toddy

The first time I had a hot toddy was at Sidecar 11, a whiskey bar in Portland, Oregon. I was chilled and weary from the damp cold and a day of travel, and the toddy lulled me into sleepy warmth. My version brings in warming ginger heat with bright orange and lemon citrus. If possible, drink by a fireplace.

1 ginger tea bag

1 orange tea bag

1 shot (about 1.5 oz) whiskey

1/4 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon honey

1 lemon wedge

Steep the ginger and orange tea bags in 2 cups of hot water for 5 minutes. In a drinking glass, combine the whiskey, brown sugar, honey, and lemon. Pour in 1 cup of the hot tea.

Garnish with a lemon slice.

Happy leaf peepin' and autumn boozin’,



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