Tall, spritzy and refreshing, the Vodka Soda is a great go-to summer cocktail, especially when mixed with ingredients like summer berries and fresh mint. But come fall, when everyone else is indulging in spiked Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Hot Buttered Rum, the standby vodka cocktail can feel a little lacking. Thankfully, you can transform the basic highball into a fall-ready cocktail in no time by making a few simple, autumnal upgrades. Here, the five best ways to turn your Vodka Soda into a fall classic.
Add Fall Fruit
A squeeze of lime isn’t the only way to brighten up a Vodka Soda. Apples, pears and figs taste delicious when muddled into the drink, and whole, tart cranberries and pomegranate seeds make for juicy garnishes sprinkled on top. You could even try incorporating super-seasonal fruits like persimmon, or muddling beetroot into the glass for an earthy, vegetal twist.
Garnish With Savory Fall Herbs
In the summer, vibrant mint, basil and cilantro give any drink an herbal upgrade, but in the fall, using more savory herbs can turn the cocktail into a bouquet of comforting aromatics. Look to the herbs you would use for your Thanksgiving turkey, like rosemary, thyme and sage. All you need to do is smack these herbs in the palm of your hand and garnish the drink. If you want to go the extra mile, ignite the herbs for an eye-catching smoking garnish
Muddle Fresh Ginger
Moscow Mule lovers will tell you ginger beer and vodka are made for each other. But ginger beer does add sugar to a drink, so if you’re drinking Vodka Sodas in order to be more health-minded, opt for muddling in fresh ginger instead. You’ll release the same pungent, spicy fall flavor of ginger into the drink, and you’ll still get that spritz from the club soda. Also, because the ginger is being incorporated in its purest form, you may receive the litany of health benefits associated with it.
Dash in Spiced Bitters
Classic Angostura bitters offer concentrated flavors of clove, tamarind, cinnamon and other aromatics, and a few dashes of the mainstay bottle are sure to transform a Vodka Soda into a more complex seasonal sipper in no time—but there are other types of flavored bitters that can fall-ify your highball even more. Some of our favorites include Bittermens New England Spiced Cranberry, Fee Brothers Black Walnut and Scrappy’s Cardamom bitters.
Make a Fall-Flavored Vodka Infusion
Since adding a cinnamon or fruit syrup would also add extra sugar to your Vodka Soda, make a spiced vodka infusion ahead of time instead. Infuse neutral vodka with cinnamon sticks, cloves or other fall flavorings (apples, figs, vanilla—the opportunities are endless) and let steep for a few days. Then strain out the spices and enjoy a flavored vodka devoid of white sugar or artificial ingredients.