Daylight hours start dwindling and the warm air is taking a break, allowing the trees to change color and the sweaters to emerge from the lower dresser drawers. Autumn is here, and it's time to put away your bottles of rosé and reach for something a little more in season. This can only mean one thing for bars and restaurants: pumpkin-flavored everything.
Hold on a minute, not everything!
Yes, pumpkin can't be ignored, especially pumpkin beer, but there are more fall flavors to add to your menu than just that royal orange gourd we all know and love.
Take a look at these best wines and spirits to include in your fall menu to help offset the flood of pumpkin-spice.
Best Wines for a Fall Menu
This deep color, full-bodied grape produces low tannins and high acidity, and is claimed to be Italy's "wine of the people." Northwest Italy is the beacon of Barbera's viticulture, but the grape is spread all over, as it's known to provide a spike of freshness when blended. Barbera d'Asti is the standout brand, but you really can't go wrong when adding a bottle of this to your fall menu.
Birthed by the Spanish, adopted by the French and exported all around the Mediterranean, this medium-bodied grape eventually found its way all around the globe. Never content to be in one place, this is a grape that shines when blended and helps create wines that are full of flavor and infinitely pairable. What's better than a wine that goes with any of fall's diverse spices?
Not every fall wine needs to be red! This German grape performs best in colder climes, so shouldn't it be best enjoyed on colder fall evenings? Often showing up in white wines, it helps create flamboyantly floral notes and helps show off alongside spices like ginger and citrus flavors. If you haven't guessed, it's got a sweetness to it that goes well alongside the candied flavors of fall, or can help offset spicier dishes.
Brandy, as well as its sophisticated cousin cognac, are two spirits that were born to be enjoyed in autumn. Carrying the weight and body of many darker spirits, brandy still has plenty of flavor to spare. You'll find everything from caramel to chocolate to candied apple when sampling different brands, and they all feel at home whether you're drinking them neat out of a snifter glass, serving it up in a brandy sour, or pouring it as a glaze over a piece of apple pie.
It'd be too easy (and obvious) to mention whiskey for this list. And chances are overwhelmingly high that you already have a great collection of whiskeys on your menu, thus enter: Reposado or Añejo tequila! These varieties have been riding high on the recent agave trend in recent years and are finally finding their well-deserved footing as premium, high-quality sipping spirits or diverse ingredients for a variety of perfect, spice-leaning fall cocktails.
Hear us out! While it's true that vodka is perhaps the quintessential poolside cocktail ingredient, we're not talking about the lime or coconut varieties of flavored vodka for our fall menu purposes. In case you haven't noticed, flavored vodka really does run the gamut, and there are some powerfully tasty yet especially drinkable varieties out there that fit well into fall. Find a bottle infused with pears, apples, butterscotch or even huckleberry, to give your fall dessert cocktails a refreshing, yet flavorful and aromatic finish.
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