Fall produce is just starting to hit market stands, making it the perfect time to plan for your fall cocktail menu.

Opting for seasonal produce helps naturally transition your menu and can help improve the footprint of your establishment. Fall staples like apples, pears, and woody herbs like rosemary and thyme are all ready for fall cocktails, but we’ve got a few other suggestions.

Figs

Sliced for a garnish, muddled into a cocktail, or made into a syrup or jam, figs are a showstopper on a cocktail menu. The sweet fruit pairs effortlessly with a range of spirits and works well with bold and savory leaning herbs. Because they have a semi-short season working with figs can be tricky. To extend their usage period you might try buying in bulk and making jam or syrup that can be carefully stored or frozen until needed.

Sparkling Fig Cocktail by Gaby Yerden

Sparkling Fig Cocktail

Photo by Gaby Yerden

Quince

Tart, tannic, and highly perfumed, quince is an often-overlooked fall fruit that has significant potential behind the bar. When raw the fruit isn’t very palatable, but cooking reveals a lightly piquant and sweet flavor with a slightly pink hue. If your kitchen is using fresh quince reduce food waste by using the peels and cores to create an aromatic syrup that is a fantastic pairing for vodka and sparkling wine.

Fresh Quince by Judy Doherty

Fresh Quince

Photo by Judy Doherty

Poached Quince and Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs. Quince
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar

Preparation: Prep your quince by peeling, coring, and quartering the fruit. In a saucepan, add 8 cups of water and the sugar. If you want a spiced flavor, add seasonings like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon sticks. Once the sugar dissolves add the quince and led the mixture simmer for about an hour. The quince will turn slightly pink and become tender when done. Strain the mixture and saving both the syrup and the fruit.


Persimmon

Sweet orange persimmons make for stunning garnishes and an excellent addition to drinks made with brown spirits. When unripe they have high tannin levels that can be quite astringent, so in most instances you’ll want to allow them time to ripen before use. A puree of persimmon makes a wonderful, autumnal addition to a whiskey sour or a riff on a French 75.

Cocktail with Persimmon garnish

Cocktail with Persimmon

Persimmon Puree

Ingredients:

  • 8 Ripe Persimmons
  • 2-4 oz. Simple Syrup

Preparation: Remove the stems from your persimmons and add them to a high-powered food processor with simple syrup. If your fruit is riper use less syrup. Blend until smooth and transfer to sanitized containers. If making in bulk the puree can be frozen to extend your menu.