8 Best Fall Movies and Cocktail Pairings

What’s better than having a well-stirred cocktail after a long day? For my money, it’s having a cocktail that goes perfectly with the movie you’re about to watch. S0 this Thanksgiving, I figured I’d treat you with a few cocktail-movie pairings to get yourself in a cozy autumnal mood. Once you’ve been freed from your family commitments, it’s time to escape from the doldrums of reality. Join me in a guided, boozy journey to a cinema world where the leaves are always perfectly orange and red, the scent of cinnamon and pumpkin spice is in the air, and there’s a spooky mystery (or a warm romance!) around every corner.

when harry met sally apple cider mimosa


When Harry Met Sally + Apple Cider Mimosa

      Nothing brings the image of autumn to mind quicker than this Nora Ephron story about a boy and a girl who will-they-or-won’t-they through more than a decade of friendship. Even the movie poster bursts with gorgeous orange and auburn leaves. Plus, who can forget Billy Crystal’s incredible selection of cable-knit sweaters that look so freaking cozy, you just want to rip them right off him through the screen?

      Pair this sweet and sour tale with an Apple Cider Mimosa. You’ll feel like your tastebuds are taking a stroll through Central Park with the drink’s crisp notes of apple cider—and a sweet and spicy splash of cinnamon whiskey to get your heart all warmed up.

      apple cider mimosa


      Apple Cider Mimosa


      • 4 oz. brut champagne

      • 2 oz. all-natural apple cider

      • 1 oz. cinnamon whiskey

      • 1 slice of apple, for garnish


      1. Mix cider and cinnamon whiskey in a champagne flute.

      2. Top with champagne, then stir lightly until incorporated.

      3. Garnish with an apple slice.



        Twilight + Dark and Stormy

        A classic tale of star-crossed lovers retold to include sexy vampires with glittery skin and the most buff werewolves you’ve ever seen? Say what you want, but it’s no wonder that the Twilight series became a cultural phenomenon. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live in a constant state of late fall fogginess and gray cloudy days? Well, just take a step into the world of Twilight—and bask in the gloomy, fall atmosphere that apparently allows vampires to attend high school. A Dark and Stormy is the perfect drink to sweep you away into a world of fantasy. It’s one that’s a little spicy, a little sweet, and has a touch of bitterness, just like an angsty vampire boyfriend.

        dark and stormy


        Dark and Stormy


        • 2 oz. dark rum

        • 3 oz. ginger beer

        • 1/2 oz. lime juice (optional)


        Fill a tall glass with ice cubes. Add rum, then pour in ginger beer and lime juice. Stir with a barspoon and garnish with a lime wedge.

        youve got mail


        You’ve Got Mail + Air Mail

        Fall is the perfect season for falling in love. It’s getting a bit colder, and the days are getting shorter. You’ll want a warm body to snuggle up with for the long nights. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks show off their undeniable chemistry in You’ve Got Mail, a classic enemy-turned-lovers story. Enjoy this lighthearted story, which is still just saccharine enough to pull off the unlikely romance at its center. Let the flirtatious banter go right to your head, just like the champagne in this delicious Air Mail. The drink is mixed with honey and lime to add a bit of sugary tartness—just like the beginnings of a new relationship.



        Air Mail


        • 2 oz. golden rum

        • 1/2 oz. lime juice

        • 1 tsp. honey

        • 5 oz. Brut champagne


        Stir rum, lime juice, and honey thoroughly with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker. Pour unstrained into a Collins glass. Top with champagne.



        Halloween + Bloody Sunrise

          Even though we’ve hit Turkey Day, fall is synonymous with spooky season. Skeletons, menacing jack-o-lanterns, and feral, sugar-fueled children are rampaging through the streets. And maybe Michael Myers too? The original boogeyman, who has been stalking us throughout 13 films of this franchise, always rises up to cast his long-threatening shadow over every Halloween season. After 44 years of terror, Michael Myers doesn’t seem to get any less fearsome. To get you through this slasher, you might want to hold onto a Bloody Sunrise. The tequila in this concoction will strengthen you—and the orange juice and grenadine will have you feeling like there’s a ray of hope at the end of the long, frightening night.

          bloody sunrise


          Bloody Sunrise


          • 1 1/2 oz. tequila reposado (like Cazadores)

          • 3 oz. orange juice

          • 1/2 oz. grenadine


          1. In a Collins glass, combine all ingredients with an ice top and grenadine. Garnish with one orange slice and a cherry.



          The Exorcist + Monster Mash

          If you’d rather your fall movies give you the creeps, pop on the ultimate gross-out horror film, The Exorcist. You’ll definitely need some liquid courage to get through this brutal flick about the demonic possession of a young girl. She curses, screams, levitates, crab-walks, and gushes neon-colored ooze. Arm yourself with this Monster Mash, mixed with enough vodka to keep you relaxed, and a pop of jalapeño and lime to keep your senses alert.



          Monster Mash


          • 2 3/4 oz. vodka (like Absolut Elyx)

          • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice

          • 3/4 oz. simple syrup

          • 2 slices jalapeño

          • 4 basil leaves


          1. Muddle jalapeños and basil leaves in a mixing glass.

          2. Add vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake and strain into a martini glass.

          3. Garnish with a jalapeño slice.



          Night of the Living Dead + Zombie

          The very first of George Romero’s iconic foray into the world of the walking undead, Night of the Living Dead, takes a grip of your biggest fears and doesn’t let go. This movie will make you grateful to be curled up safely inside your home, where there aren’t relentless, brain-starved zombies trying to burst in through the windows. A nice, refreshing Zombie might alleviate those fears. This rum drink, which also conveniently works as a fiery torch against the undead, will keep you safe.





          • 1/2 oz. white rum

          • 1 1/2 oz. golden rum

          • 1 oz. dark rum

          • 1/2 oz. 151-proof rum

          • 1 oz. lime juice

          • 1 tsp. pineapple juice

          • 1 tsp. papaya juice

          • 1 tsp. superfine sugar


          1. Stir together all the ingredients except the 151 and pour into a 14-ounce glass three-fourths full of cracked ice.

          2. Float the 151 as a lid by pouring it into a spoon and gently dipping it under the surface of the drink. Take a match to this mixture; it will burn.

          3. Garnish with mint (either straight or dipped in lime juice and then superfine sugar) and/or fruit.



          Knives Out + Irish Coffee

            Barren trees and a stiff chilly breeze is the perfect environment to solve a murder mystery. Well at least it is in Knives Out, where all our protagonists (or, um, murder suspects) are decked out in their finest blazers and thick wool sweaters. Gather around the fireplace and put on your thinking cap to see if you can solve this whodunit. Grab a nice hot cup of Irish Coffee to help keep your wits about you.



            Irish Coffee


            • 2 oz. Irish whiskey

            • 5 oz. hot coffee

            • 2 tsp. sugar

            • heavy cream


            Pour the whiskey, coffee, and sugar into a stemmed, heated glass mug. Stir, then top off with a thick layer of lightly whipped heavy cream.

            donnie darko


            Donnie Darko + Flaming Dr. Pepper

            Visions of apocalyptic doom, frustrated high school crushes, and parents who just don’t understand you? Well, those problems are just the tip of the iceberg for teenager Donnie Darko. In this sci-fi psychological thriller, Darko learns that the world is supposed to end on Halloween in a fiery explosion. For some diehard fans of the holiday, that probably feels true. You’re only young once, so why not go out in a blaze of glory? Drop this flaming hot shot of rum into a pint of beer and chug as fast as humanly (or inhumanly?) possible.



            Flaming Dr. Pepper


            • 3/4 oz. amaretto

            • 1/4 oz. rum

            • beer


            1. Half-fill a pint glass with beer.

            2. Add the amaretto to a shot glass, then slowly float the rum atop it. Set it aflame.

            3. Drop the flaming shot in the beer, then drink quickly.

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