Labor Day poses a bit of a dilemma for cocktail lovers. It's the official end of summer but it's not quite fall. It's a no-man's land between the sunny heat of summer and the crisp days of autumn where temperatures fling themselves around willy-nilly and you are starting to layer your clothing to accommodate the range. Thoughts of the beach are getting shoved away by visions of the holidays but you still have that last summer barbecue to plan. What to do, what to do.
As the light and heat of summer fade, your drinks need to get a little muscle in them. This is the time of year I start to restock my whiskies and brandies, buy a couple of new aged rums and sipping tequilas and add a couple of juniper/botanical heavy gins to my bar. Using these heftier spirits in a late summer's iced cocktail is a great transition to fall; they are still cool and refreshing for the heat but can face up to an evening chill. Can you can still make a Sangria or a punch for Labor Day? Sure, but trade your light white wines, peaches, grapefruits and lemons in for hearty reds with late fall berries or apples, pears and oranges.
As for Labor Day flavors, I know pumpkin mania is nipping at your heels, but thanks to worldwide
trade you might still have access to some summer produce like watermelon, cantaloupe, late
summer berries, citrus, a few late harvest strawberries as well as the
fall bounty that is showing up at the local markets. Let's let the pumpkin cool it's heels while we're still wearing short sleeved shirts during the day, we're only in September, not staring down the Pilgrims.
As you get your wardrobe ready for colder times, your kids packed off to the first days of school and you pull out the instant pot for soups and stews, why not get your taste buds primed for the season as well?
Here's a few cocktail ideas, using the above principles, for Labor Day:
BOURBON (WHISKEY) CHERRY COBBLER
BOURBON CHERRY PIE SMASH
PRICKLY PEAR OLD FASHIONED
RED WOMAN'S BERRY WINE PUNCH
SPICED APPLE OLD FASHIONED
SPICED RUM POMEGRANATE FIZZ
STRAWBERRY JAM OLD FASHIONED
You can also try some of the tall, iced cooler style drinks from these seasonal flavors:
APPLE COCKTAILSBLACKBERRY COCKTAILSCRANBERRY COCKTAILSMELON COCKTAILSPEACH COCKTAILSPEAR COCKTAILSWATERMELON COCKTAILS
AFTER LABOR DAY
PREPARING YOUR BAR FOR FALL
Labor Day passes quickly so below are a few tips to get your fall happy hour on as summer fades
and Old Man Winter is breathing down your neck. Of course, a good host or hostess should always be prepared to serve a guest that Pina Colada
or Tom Collins if that is what they desire, but getting into a seasonal
aspect at happy hour keeps you and those you're entertaining from
the ice bucket full, but tuck the light rums, vodkas and gins off to
the side of the bar and bring out your whiskies, brandies, aged rums, botanical
heavy gins and anejo tequilas
- Pull out the rocks glasses, coupes and stemware and let the tall guys take a vacation
- Keep the effervescence of those tall coolers by replacing their ounces with just a splash or two
- Bring the spice to the party. Spices warm and comfort and add depth of flavor
- Take the last of your summer produce and herbs and turn them into simple syrups or shrubs. Even jams and preserves can be used in fall and winter to replace fresh fruit and sugar in your cocktails.
PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY