Fall is here! As we experience the change in season, many bars and restaurants follow suit and adjust their cocktail lists to focus on typically autumnal flavors. I see a lot more cranberry, pear, cinnamon, and other similar ingredients on menus. It’s not uncommon to celebrate these harvest months, and there are a bounty of different items that can be utilized in cocktail recipes.
During this time, many colleagues and bar managers ask what liqueurs we have in the Young’s Craft & Luxury portfolio that can be used in cocktails to capitalize on the fall season. Luckily, we have a great selection of options to choose from. Here are a few that I recommend, which are all very versatile in different cocktail applications.
St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur is by far the most utilized item we have in our arsenal for this fall season. It perfectly pairs their iconic pear brandy (see what I did there) with fresh juice and a subtle spice that will make you wonder where this incredible product has been all your life. You can use this liqueur with almost anything this season and it’ll be magical. Some of my favorite spirits I use to compliment this liqueur are whiskey, Cognac, and rum.
Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur holds a special place in my heart, as it was the main ingredient for my first cocktail competition back in 2012. It is made with VSOP and XO Cognac along with hand cut and peeled baby Vietnamese ginger root. The result is a complex, spicy, yet slightly sweet syrup that provides a fantastic tangy punch in cocktails. I like this best in cocktails using a clear spirit like vodka or gin.
Giffard Rhubarb Liqueur is just one of the vast number of products in the Back Bar Project lineup of modifiers. Although rhubarb is typically harvested in the spring, I think it compliments other fall flavors very well. It has an earthy, vegetal, fruity flavor that really comes through in cocktails. I recommend using it in cocktails featuring Bourbon, Scotch, or Cognac.
Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur is a lovely modifier and a wonderful option when the end of the year comes along. It’s produced using native Sicilian blood oranges harvested at the peak of their season along with a touch of different citruses. The unique flavor and aroma of blood orange really does wonders in brightening up a cocktail. I like using it in margarita and paloma variations to add a subtle touch of a fall flavor.
About the Author
Willem Van Leuven is a Craft & Luxury Spirits Specialist for Young’s Market Company in San Diego, California. His passion for craft spirits stems from over 18 years of hospitality experience working in bars and restaurants throughout Southern California. He was previously the president of the San Diego chapter of the United States Bartender’s Guild and continues to be active in the San Diego cocktail community. When he’s not talking about libations, you can find him enjoying them both stateside and abroad, often in Mexico.