Wine cocktails for fall

Transitioning from summer to fall (and dealing with the stress of a new school year) is easier and tastier with a delicious wine cocktail. Fall wines are characteristically fresh and crisp with a hint of warm flavor. Combining fall wines with fresh fruits and spices will give you a cool-weather cocktail you can sip into winter.

Spiced wine cocktail

How to make wine cocktails for fall

Wine cocktails are a quick and easy way to entertain friends who stop by unexpectedly or celebrate a small victory with your husband after work. They combine your favorite seasonal wines with other autumnal flavors and sip.

Pick the right wine

The wine you choose will provide the base for your cocktail, so it’s important to choose a good one. But don’t think you have to shell out $100 to get it. You can get a good-quality white for between $6 and $25 and a nice red for between $10 and $35. (Reds are more expensive because it takes extra equipment to age.)

Popular choices for the fall include pinot noirs (which tend to be complex and a bit spicy), wines from the Bordeaux region of France, sweet or dry rieslings or Malbec varietals (which are inky and intense). No matter what wine you choose, make sure it’s appropriate for the season.

Add fall flavors

Now amp-up the autumn flavor by adding the season’s hallmark spices. Try pumpkin pie spice, allspice or cinnamon. Toss in some delectible seasonal fruits: pomegranates, cranberries and apples will compliment many wines, whether they’re red or white, sweet or dry. You can even add a complementary fruit juice to lower the alcohol content.

Give them an extra kick

For an extra layer, add flavored vodka, brandy or rum. To give red or white wine a sparkling essence, mix in some club soda. Or skip the wine and use Champagne as your base.

Perfect for a picnic: Vodka-infused tomatoes with dipping salts >>

Spiced Red Wine

Serves 4


  • 1 bottle of red wine (such as cabernet or merlot) 
  • 8 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1 grapefruit peel
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, plus 4 to garnish


  1. Combine the wine and sugar in a large pot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add orange and grapefruit peels, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Heat the mixture for 20 minutes, but don’t allow the wine boil.
  3. Strain the wine through a fine sieve and let it cool. Serve garnished with cinnamon sticks.

White Wine Apple Spritzer

Serves 4


  • 1 bottle white wine (such as riesling) 
  • 6 ounces apple pie liqueur or apple juice
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 4 ounces club soda


  1. Combine white wine with apple pie liqueur and lime juice.
  2. When you’re ready to serve, pour the wine mixture into glasses and top each with a splash of club soda.

Sparkling Pom Cocktail

Serves 4


  • 8 ounces pomegranate liqueur
  • 6 ounces pomegranate juice
  • 1 bottle sparkling wine
  • Pomegranate seeds for garnish


  1. Combine the pomegranate liqueur and pomegranate juice.
  2. Pour the mixture into champagne glasses and top it with sparkling wine.
  3. Drop pomegranate seeds into the champagne glasses for garnish.

More on wine

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