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It’s nearly autumn in the northern most parts of this country. The temperature is slowly but surely beginning to favor pants and long sleeve tees rather than sandals and shorts.
I can sit here and wax poetic about tailgates wherein I could get away with a summer outfit for the first couple weeks of the season but that would just make me depressed. I’m old now and I dress for bars where the air conditioning is going to be blasting rather than for a flip cup game in somebody’s backyard.
Shorts are getting packed away in the back corner of my closet, not to be seen again until April or May. I’m ready for the fall as this is a more versatile time of the year in terms of fashion choices.
With this change in wardrobe, there also comes a desire to get rid of your white wine or vodka and switch to something darker. Style choices are always important. However, the more pressing question on your mind should be what your drink of choice is going to be this fall.
Before you know it, the leaves will be a spattering of burgundy, orange, and yellow. Your favorite college football team will have played themselves out of a playoff spot. You’ll need a drink that will help you forget about all of that. I adore a pinot grigio on ice or a vodka soda just as much as the next guy, but with all due respect, those drinks are out.
Rum and Cider
A staple in my home state of Michigan, you won’t be able to go to a tailgate at Michigan State or the other school down the road without being offered an Admiral Nelson and cider. Michiganders will tell you that their cider is the best in the country and I’m inclined to agree.
There’s nothing like waking up at 8:00 a.m. for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff and having a liter of rum staring you in the face as you eat a breakfast scramble and make your way towards the stadium. This is a drink for the under-25 crowd. The hangover from drinking rum and cider all day is really, really bad, and if you drank this with any consistency in college, you probably won’t touch this drink with a twenty-foot pole. What I’m saying is keep this one in your back pocket. One or two rum and ciders every now and again won’t kill you, and it’s a welcome reprieve from lukewarm Labatt Blue Lights at the Homecoming tent you stumbled into. This is a drink that you’re not going to see much outside of a college football Saturday. It’s designed for that purpose and that purpose only so don’t try and drink this one if you’re having a quiet Friday night in with your beau. It simply wasn’t made for that.
Whiskey/Bourbon (neat or on the rocks)
I like a splash of water with my bourbon, but whether you choose to take it on ice, neat, or with the aforementioned splash is really all personal preference. The most obvious drink on this list is obvious for a reason. Whiskey and bourbon warm your belly up when you’ve returned home from a taxing Wednesday at the office. Maybe there was a cold front that moved in on that Wednesday and the temp dropped below 60 degrees. You can feel the cold in the tips of your fingers as you plop your backpack down on the living room couch. Mosey over to your bar cart and fix yourself a whiskey (or bourbon) neat. The best thing about a drink as simple as this one is that it forces you to enjoy it. You can’t just slam this. It’s a sippin’ drink, and you can use that time while you’re sipping to reflect on whatever it is that needs reflecting.
I have a steadfast rule that I try to keep through the summer regarding wine. White wine on ice is for May and all the way through August. But the end of August marks a changing of the guard. In this life, two things are certain come September 1st: Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “September” will be blasting from the Bose speakers I took to my apartment from my parents’ basement, and you won’t see a wine glass in my hand unless it has a red in it. Malbec, pinot noir, cab sauv, sangiovese – I don’t give a shit what kind of red you drink. Just make sure it’s a red. Because when the leaves begin to change there’s something about a glass of red wine that makes everything just a little bit better. Get up under a blanket with a nice young lady and watch You’ve Got Mail with a fresh bottle of shiraz and tell me it’s not euphoric. You can’t.
Ugh. Are we still drinking beers? As of late, I’ve taken a page out of Ed Sheeran’s book and just cut beer completely out. It’s not that I don’t like them, but the calories are just not something I want right now.
IPAs and anything else with “craft” in the title is out for me. I like light domestic beer and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Those niche, high-end beers are nice and all but the hangover from those is always so bad I can’t bring myself to drink them anymore. Couple that with the fact that I can feel myself getting fatter with every sip from a locally sourced, non-GMO craft beer and I’m out, man. I’ll probably pick beer back up next spring, but this one for me personally is simply a non-starter. Sorry.
I don’t care if you go gin or vodka. I’m partial to vodka myself with a lemon twist, but there really isn’t a wrong way to order a martini. Dirty, dry, with or without blue cheese olives – it’s all gravy, baby. A martini is perfect is sort of like a one size fits all drink. You can drink them during the dog days of summer or the dead of winter when you can’t feel your face walking outside. This will always and forever be a drink that screams class and sophistication, and what better way to celebrate autumn (the best season of them all) than by kicking back and drinking approximately two martinis? There aren’t a lot of things more autumnal than someone drinking a martini while “Chet Baker Sings” plays from a jukebox at your favorite upscale bar.
Sidenote: keep it to two martinis, guys. Slippery slope after that second one.
So there you have it. A fairly comprehensive list of drinks that are perfect for fall weather. Save the one month of sobriety pledge for January or February. This is a time for drinks that will convince you to just start dating that girl you get together with every single weekend and also make watching your favorite football team bearable. .