The seasons are changing and it’s time to start thinking about your fall cocktail plan.

Even if your bar doesn’t rotate your menu with the seasons, having a few seasonally appropriate specials up your sleeve can help bring in customers and orders.

Transition Slowly

The first thing to keep in mind is that there doesn’t need to be a hard and fast menu swap. Introduce one or two new or adjusted cocktails at a time. Afterall, the seasons don’t change all at once, your menu doesn’t need to either. Making smaller changes slowly lets you take time to develop new ideas and get any new ingredients.

Fall cocktails by rinck content studio

Fall Cocktails

Photo by Rinck Content Studio

Check Your Spirits

In general, we find that spirits are seasonless- you can make a winter cocktail with a white rum base and a summer cocktail with a brown spirit. That said, swapping the spirits in seasonal drinks can make an interesting change. Opting for an aged or spiced rum in place of white, or mezcal in place of blanco tequila can upgrade the profile of classic summer cocktails in a subtle way.

Update Your Syrups and Shrubs

If you’re making house cocktail syrups and shrubs adding a few autumnal flavors to your line up can be a fun way to add some seasonal flair. Opting for more savory herbs like rosemary and sage and cold weather produce like apples and pears can create fall ready syrups that are still fresh enough for warmer days

Apple garnish by bonnie kittle

Apple Garnish

Photo by Bonnie Kittle

Switch Out The Garnishes

An easy but effective way to start transitioning your drink menu is to rethink your garnish strategy. Cinnamon Sugar rims, smoking sprigs of rosemary, herbal salts, the options are endless. Swapping lime and lemon wedges for dehydrated winter citrus and fresh herbs keeps things green and bright while setting the mood. Still have some summer fruits to use? Rather than letting them go to waste, try giving them a bit of a fall flavor by throwing them on a grill for a few moments. As the sugars caramelize and scorch line forms, you’ll add smoke, sweetness, and dynamic layers of flavor.