4 Warm Autumnal Drinks with Cocktail Potential

Autumnal drink

Autumn marks the change in temperatures as everything starts to get a bit cooler and cosier. While some people might be sad to see the heat leave, we’re so excited for chilly nights spent rugged up with a cosy throw and with warm autumnal drinks in our hands.

Not to be outdone by any other season, autumn brings with it its own fun and exciting seasonal-themed cocktails. So we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite warm drinks that can be transformed into funky cocktails, or left just as they are—perfect for the whole family.

All of these recipes include options to make them boozy, but work just as well without the extra kick. This way you can serve to drinkers, teetotallers, and kids without worry.

Hot apple cider

Apple pie flavours might seem to have a lot of connotations with Americana, but also with autumn. This autumnal drink could also be enjoyed cold, but who doesn’t want to enjoy a liquid (maybe alcoholic) apple pie?

Hot apple cider

Ingredients (serves 5):
  • 8 cups of cloudy apple juice
  • 1 apple, sliced + extra for garnish if you desire
  • 1 orange, sliced + extra for garnish if you desire
  • 2 cinnamon sticks or 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • peppercorns, to your taste preference (12 whole peppercorns is a good standard)

To make it boozy:

  • 2 cups of dark rum

One of the greatest things about this recipe is how easy it is to complete.

  1. Put all your non-alcoholic ingredients into a large pot and place it on the stove at a medium temperature.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer, constantly stirring all the while.
  3. If you want to add the rum, do so while it’s still in the pan and stir it through. Or add it to the specific glasses of those who desire it and mix it through with a swizzle stick.

Decadent Hot Chocolate

We love a hot chocolate in the colder seasons. We even tried out six crazy-good recipes a few winters ago, so keep them in mind once you’ve moved on from autumnal drinks.

For a timeless hot chocolate that you can adapt to a kids’ or grown-ups’ party though, we’re keeping it simple.

Hot chocolate

Ingredients (serves 2):
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 3 cinnamon sticks or 3 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 250g of dark chocolate (substitute for milk chocolate for a lighter, sweeter taste that isn’t too bold)
  • 3 tablespoons of castor sugar
  • salt to taste (1 pinch is enough but feel free to add more if you like a saltier flavour)

To make it boozy:

  • Half a cup of bourbon
  1. Put the milk and cinnamon into a large saucepan over a medium heat, gently whisking to make sure the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom or boil. This should take roughly 10 minutes.
  2. Continuing to whisk, add in the chocolate, sugar, and salt. After about 5 minutes the mixture should become smooth and creamy with the chocolate completely melted.
  3. Add the bourbon if you desire, add some to only a select few drinks, or leave it out completely; it’s up to you.
  4. Top with whipped cream, marshmallows, and/or the like for a fancy finish.

Chai Latte

A chai latte is warm in more than just temperature. These cosy flavours feel like you’re giving your tummy a hug. Some autumnal drinks you probably won’t utilise out of the season, but we think a good chai latte can be enjoyed throughout the whole year, so keep this recipe in mind!

chai latte

Ingredients (serves 5):
  • 4 cups of whatever milk you prefer
  • 2 star anise stars
  • 2 cinnamon sticks or 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 piece (roughly 2.5 x 2.5 cm) of fresh ginger, crushed, roughly
  • 4 servings of dry, black tea (loose-leaf or tea bags, either is ok), flavours like English breakfast are a good starting point, but feel free to experiment with any other teas you prefer
  • 1/2 cup of sweetener of your preference, sugar, honey, maple syrup, or likewise

To make it boozy:

  • 3/4 cup of whisky
  1. In a large pot, boil 4 cups of water.
  2. Add in the spices, the tea, and the sweetener.
  3. Lower the heat or remove the pot from the heat all together.
  4. Stir until the sweetener is fully dissolved or combined.
  5. Cover the pot, and leave it to steep for roughly 10 minutes.
  6. Strain your tea through a fine strainer into a jug, carafe, or teapot. Discard the leaves and spices. (You can store this tea mixture in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.)
  7. Froth your milk. This can be done by putting it into a blender and letting the blender do the hard work for you. (If you have a milk frother at home feel free to use that of course.)
  8.  Heat the milk in a small saucepan. Keep in mind that non-dairy milks can separate if they get too hot so keep the element on a low heat.
  9. Add the tea to your mugs (after reheating it on the stove if you’ve left it in the fridge), and top up the mugs with milk. Try to keep a 3:2 ratio of tea:milk here (roughly 3/4 cup of tea to 1/2 cup of milk). Stir to combine.
  10. Add a shot of whisky at this point, if you desire.
  11. Finally, top with the frothed top layer of milk and dust with some extra powdered cinnamon and some extra herbs if you like.

Hot Toddy

Some autumnal drinks are contemporary instant classics (hello, pumpkin spice latte), but some have been tried and tested for generations. One of those is the hot toddy. It’s a cold seasons staple. It can help warm up a sore throat and it’s super easy to make!

Hot lemon drink

Ingredients  (serves 1):
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups of hot water
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar, or to your taste preferences
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, add more if you prefer a more spiced hot toddy
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, feel free to adjust this one to your preferences too

To make it boozy:

  •  1 cup of your preferred gin (a London dry will work well)
  1. Place all your ingredients in your glass, give it a stir, and enjoy!

You can increase this recipe to serve multiple people, or just enjoy refreshing, autumnal drinks on your own.

All original recipes come from the author, Paige Riddiford.

Paige Riddiford is a writer and editor from NSW with a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Wollongong. When not writing, Paige is often found reading, baking cakes, playing video games, or binging whatever's new on Netflix.