5 Fall Cocktail Trends to Try This Season

We asked five bartenders what’s trending in the cocktail world these days

A riff on milk punch at Bresca. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

Milk Punch

“At Bresca, we are expanding on the clarified-­milk-punch cocktail trend by using a yogurt wash to add the same proteins and texture into mixed cocktails. One—A Walk Through the Pyrenees—combines peaches and a Spanish brandy from Barcelona. The Pyrenees range is famous for its sheep’s milk, so we fat-washed the brandy with yogurt. [We use] a milk frother to fold the proteins of the yogurt before shaking with a peaty Scotch, nutty Madeira, and peach syrup. It gives a silky, foamy texture reminiscent of an egg-white cocktail.”

—Will Patton, service and beverage director at Bresca in the 14th Street corridor

Corpse Reviver at Apéro.

Brandy-Based Drinks

“My go-to classic cocktail for fall is the Corpse Reviver #1, which combines apple brandy with Cognac and sweet vermouth. I put my own spin on it by adding oloroso sherry, which lends a toasty, nutty component that feels extra-cozy for fall. Another great apple-brandy-based classic is the Widow’s Kiss, which is having a bit of a moment right now in cocktail-nerd circles.”

—Sean Meehan, bar manager at Apéro in Georgetown

Melon Cocktails

“One thing I love about fall—and that seems to be trending—is late-in-the-season melons. They blend with darker spices like Mexican cinnamon and African cardamom. My personal favorite is the combination of juiced cantaloupe, cinnamon, cardamom, and a bourbon fizz. It’s the best thing ever.”

—Gina Chersevani, owner of Buffalo & Bergen and Last Call in the Union Market District

Sherry coctkail at Jane Jane. Photograph by Reema Desai.

Sherry Accents

“I love the depth of flavor sherry can add to any cocktail, and their varied flavor profiles lend themselves to fall. I always veer toward classic sherry cocktails like the Adonis, but it’s such a multifaceted ingredient that’s easy to incorporate into a variety of classic recipes. My personal favorite is adding a bit of amontillado sherry to an old fashioned.”

—JP Sabatier, owner of Jane Jane in Logan Circle

The Old Fashioned

“I’ve been getting more people asking for the famous, classic old fashioned. It’s super-­boozy, silky, smooth—when done correctly—and really warms up a cold body. For autumn, I like making a simple riff, an all-spice old fashioned. It’s a classic you know, but packed with those familiar fall flavors.”

—Princess Johnson, bartender at Allegory in downtown DC

This article appears in the November 2022 issue of Washingtonian.

Peter Njoroge
Editorial Fellow