Friendsgiving Cocktail Crafting with Courtney Whitmore

The air is getting crisp, and the leaves are beginning to change. There is no better way to kick off fall than with some seasonal cocktails. Entertainment aficionado, cookbook author and Pizzazzerie blogger, Courtney Whitmore, knows a thing or two about bringing libation inspiration. Whether you’ll be playing bartender during Friendsgiving or hosting a weekend gathering around the fire, she recommends serving up three of her favorite fall cocktails – one for every phase of the party.


Apple Cider Aperol Spritz

For those perfect toasting moments

Yields: 1

1 ounce Aperol
2 ounces apple cider
3 ounces Prosecco
Splash of club soda

Cinnamon Sugar Rim:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Rim Schott Zwiesel Pure Champagne Flute with lemon or lime wedge and dip in cinnamon sugar. Fill glass with ice. Add Aperol, apple cider, Prosecco and splash of club soda. Garnish as desired.

Optional Garnishes: apple slices, cinnamon sticks, star anise, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon sugar or turbinado sugar (for rimming glass).


Cinnamon Maple White Russian

For when you’re craving something sweet

Yields: 1

2 ounces vanilla vodka
2 ounces coffee liqueur
1 ounce maple syrup
2 ounces heavy cream (or half-and-half)
1 pinch cinnamon

Maple Cinnamon Rim:
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

If garnishing rim, dip Schott Zwiesel Pure Whiskey Glass in maple syrup and then in cinnamon sugar. Fill glass with ice. Add vanilla vodka, coffee liqueur and maple syrup. Stir to mix. Pour in heavy cream and finish with pinch of cinnamon.

Optional Garnishes: cinnamon stick


Spiced Cranberry Hot Toddy

For taking the afterparty outside

Yields: 4

4 cups unsweetened cranberry juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 orange, sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 (1-inch) pieces of fresh ginger
3 star anise
¾–1 cup bourbon (or spiced rum)

In a medium saucepan, pour in cranberry juice. Add in sugar, honey, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, ginger, cloves and star anise. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure sugar has dissolved.

Strain juice to remove spices and ginger. Pour into Casafina Fontana Mug and stir in around 2 ounces of bourbon to each 8-ounce serving (or adjust to your liking). Serve warm.

Optional Garnishes: fresh cranberries, cinnamon sticks, star anise, thyme sprig or rosemary sprig.

For more of Courtney’s fall entertaining tips, follow her on Instagram at @Pizzazzerie. And if you’re looking for other ways to embrace the season, check out our Alfresco Friendsgiving blog for pointers on how to take your party outside.

Photography and recipe credit: Courtney Whitmore.