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Four Fall-Inspired Cocktails You Need to Try

Start your holiday feast with great music, flavorful appetizers and, most importantly, a bevy of festive cocktails that incorporate fall flavors and traditional Thanksgiving ingredients.

Looking to create drinks that will be a hit for everyone, we enlisted private bar catering & events planning company Open Bar Hospitality to give us advice on how to celebrate in style.

With clients ranging from Fast Company Magazine to Jet Blue, resident mixologist George Duval knows his way around a bar and has created cocktails at some of Manhattan’s top restaraunts including Negril, 40/40 Club, Boom Boom Room and a host of others.

Here, the native New Yorker shares his secrets to achieving the perfect cocktail, incorporaing fresh ingredients and why ‘darker’ spirits will reign supreme. Let’s drink and be merry!

JET: What determines a great holiday cocktail?

George Duval: It all starts with seasonal and holiday inspired ingredients! Think cranberries, clementines and others to stay within the theme of your meal. But most importantly, its all about attention to detail: garnishes can dress up any drink and presentation is key!

JET: What are the best spirits and food pairings?

GD: Always go with “darker” spirits! Smooth dark spiced rums, cognac and whiskeys compliment and are complex enough to pair well with most holiday foods. Then again one can choose a rich, red wine or something white and crisp. There really are no rules – it’s all your preference!

JET: What are the latest trends in holiday cocktails?

GD: The usage of more fresh ingredients, if available, and producing homemade syrups, grenadines and juices brightens up the cocktail. Also seasonal sangrias, made in batches, tend to be a huge hit around the dining table.

JET: What are signature drinks every household should serve?

Every recipe included in this interview! My favorites include Cranberry Moscow Mule, Clementine Clantro Mojito, Spicy Margarita, Pear & Rosemary Cosmopolitan and Concord Grapes Whisky Sour.

Sour Apple Jack

Seasonal Apple Jack

1.5 oz Ciroc Vodka 

.5 oz Lairds Apple Jack Brandy 

2.5 oz mulled apple cider 

Splash of “Open Kitchen” Thyme infused simple syrup 

In shaker, place all ingredients, add ice and shake vigorously.  Strain into martini glass or cup. Garnish with an apple slice or lime.

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Cranberry Ginger Mule

6 muddled cranberries

1.5 oz vodka

.75 oz lime juice

.5 oz “Open Kitchen” fresh ginger syrup 

3 oz ginger beer 

In shaker muddle cranberres.  Add vodka, lime juice, ginger syrup and ice. Shake and strain into a high ball glass.  Add fresh ice. Top off with ginger beer.  Garnish with a ginger candy and fresh cranberry.  

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Pear Rosemary Cosmo

2 oz Ciroc vodka 

2.5 oz pear nectar 

Splash of lime 

Splash of “Open Kitchen” Rosemary infused simple syrup 

In shaker add vodka, pear nectar, lime and Rosemary infused simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously.  Strain into martini glass or cup.  Garnish with a Rosemary sprig.  

beer shoot & milk river, strawberries 158

Honey Jack Sour

1.5 oz Honey Jack Daniels 

.5 oz  fresh lime juice 

.5 oz  fresh lemon juice 

.66 oz honey 

1 egg white 

In shaker, place Honey Jack, lime juice, lemon juice, honey and egg white.  Take the spring from the strainer and add to shaker dry shake. Then add ice and shake again in order to achieve the drink’s signature froth.  Strain over ice.  Finish wih a dash of angostura bitters.  

To find out more about Open Bar Hospitality and view additional cocktails recipes, visit at

About Tyrus Townsend


Cultural expositor Tyrus Rochell Townsend has written for Essence, Uptown, Vibe,, The Atlanta Post, Bleu Magazine,  Details Style Network and numerous other publications. Read about his style musings at The Gentleman’s Daily and follow him on Twitter @gentlemansdaily and on Instagram at @tyrusrochelltownsend and @thegentlemansdaily.