Underrated Wines

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Whether planning a romantic night at home with your partner, a dinner party among friends, or simply relaxing after a long day, choosing the perfect wine for your situation can be a complex process. The choices are seemingly endless, which may lead you to choose reliable and common options. However, there is a long list of underrated wines that also deserve your attention. If you are looking to branch out, try some of our wine recommendations below.

Gamay

Gamay is likened to Pinot Noir and is oftentimes referred to as the cousin of Pinot Noir because the Gamay grape is grown in France nearby world-renowned Pinot vineyards. Hailing from the Beaujolais region of Burgundy, Gamay holds its own within the region. This light red wine features an earthy, red fruit taste. Because Gamay is not aged, it is a more affordable option than Pinot Noir, which is aged for long periods.

Grüner Veltliner

Grüner Veltliner is a white wine almost exclusive to Austria. It is highly acidic with strong citrus flavors; thus, it is often enjoyed during the summer. It is compared to Sauvignon Blanc, but for only around $15 a bottle, it’s a much more affordable alternative to Sauvignon Blanc.

Tempranillo

Tempranillo features a bold, big, structured taste, like that of Cabernet Sauvignon. Tempranillo is a Spanish grape and is, in fact, one of Spain’s most prominent grapes. It is the predominant grape of the Rioja region, which is known for producing some of the best wines in Spain. It offers a dark fruit flavor, specifically black cherry, with notes of spice and tobacco. It pairs well with filet mignon or any steak or barbecue. Look for a label that says “Rioja” to know you have the right bottle.

Falanghina

Falanghina is an ancient wine grape that is grown off the Amalfi Coast in Campania, Italy, which borders the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its flavor is just how you would imagine it—full of essences of lemon, pear, apple, and orange blossom. If you like Chardonnay, you will love Falanghina. It pairs well with seafood but will also complement grilled chicken or even pizza.

Touriga Nacional

Made in Portugal, Touriga Nacional wines are full-bodied wines that are long-aged, much like Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. Young wines from Touriga Nacional, however, are very tannic, which leaves the mouth feeling dry after you’ve sipped them. But if aged properly, these wines are soft and elegant. Expect a rich flavor full of blueberry, blackberry, plum, bittersweet cocoa, and subtle tones of stimulating mint with violet. Touriga Nacional wines, even when aged for a long time, are much cheaper than Cabernet Sauvignon. Pair them with bold dishes like a smoked meat sandwich, tripe stew, or grilled octopus.

If you’re a wine connoisseur, we know you will appreciate these underrated and lesser-known wine varieties. They hold their own in terms of flavor and structure and can make a beloved conversation fresh and new. Visit Payless Liquors for a fine assortment of underestimated wines, as well as all your traditional, well-known favorites.

Cold Weather Cocktails

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We are still deep in the throes of winter, and few things are better than warming up with a cold-weather cocktail. Chilled, spritzy drinks will only make you miss summer and beach days. Instead, choose a fire-friendly cocktail from our recommendations below. They are sure to warm you up during these cold winter nights.

Spiked Apple Cider

The most apparent winter cocktail would be a spiked apple cider. This delicious cider can be dangerous because the mixture of hot cider flavors completely masks any trace of alcohol. The tart cider taste goes down easy and warms you from the inside out.

Ingredients:

  • Two qt. apple cider
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup high-proof Bourbon
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. whole cloves
  • Four cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg

Mix all of the other ingredients without the liquor and heat until boiling. Once the mixture comes to a boil, simmer for another 15 minutes. Finally, you can add your bourbon. Simmer some more, occasionally stir, and then strain the cider.

Irish Coffee

Another winter favorite is a good, strong Irish coffee, and the hardest part is checking to see if you have all the ingredients. This drink will warm you up and wake you up at the same time. If you are an iced coffee drinker, even in the winter, this is great on ice as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Irish cream liqueur
  • 1.5 oz Irish whiskey
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 1 tbsp. whipped cream
  • One dash nutmeg

Mix all ingredients together and serve in your favorite mug!

Peach Cobbler

Like comfort food, there are certain cocktails that make us feel warm and fuzzy. This cocktail will deliver a similar feeling as comfort food does. It’s sweet and creamy and full of delicious peach and butterscotch flavor. It’s a great party drink that everyone will love.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 oz. peach schnapps
  • 1/2 oz. butterscotch schnapps
  • Splash of cinnamon schnapps
  • Splash of cream

Put ice in a glass and pour the ingredients in. It’s as easy as that. You can always garnish with a peach slice for added appeal.

Hot Toddy

This winter cocktail was popular generations ago when slow-sipping whiskey was all the rage. If you want to enjoy it the way they did back in the day, leave out the simple syrup in this much sweeter, tastier version. Nothing will warm your blood and put you to bed on a cold winter’s night like a hot toddy. Instead of hot tea, next time, try a hot toddy. It also does wonders for the winter cold, making for a good night’s sleep.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup warm to hot water
  • 1 to 1.5 ounces of whiskey, depending on how strong you want it
  • 2 to 3 tsp. of honey
  • 2 to 3 tsp. of lemon juice, fresh or bottled
  • One cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon

Simmer water in a saucepan or tea kettle. Choose your favorite mug to pour water into. Add the whiskey and two teaspoons each of honey and lemon juice. Stir these ingredients until the honey has completely dissolved. Taste test to see if you would like to add the remaining honey or lemon juice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or dust with ground cinnamon. For even more sweetness, rim the glass with a drizzle of honey, so you get a little bit with every sip.

When it’s cold outside, stop by Payless Liquors and stock up on your favorite spirits to keep yours up during the long, harsh winter. Don’t forget, spring is just around the corner.

Choosing Your Beer

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Whether at your local Payless Liquor store or at a bar or restaurant, choosing one beer from a sea of endless choices can be a daunting task. We’ve put together this guide to help you along, and you will be a champion beer chooser in no time. You can use your skills to impress friends and choose the perfect beer for them, as well. Don’t fear the beer wall anymore.

Process of Elimination

First, by knowing what types of beer you like or types of beer you don’t like, you can eliminate a vast majority of the choices. Once you determine what type you like or don’t like, choosing one will be much easier. Here’s a quick rundown of the various popular categories of beer and some safe options in each category that you can use as a reference point.

American Lagers

Lagers are defined by their fermentation process. They are fermented from the bottom at cool temperatures. American lagers are known for their golden, straw-colored light bodies. They have a mild hops flavor, so they go down quickly and easily. They have relatively low alcohol content compared to some of the other types of beer on the market. A good lager is consistent, simple, cheap, and refreshing.

There are about 25 different types of lagers, with American lagers making up a small portion of these beers. The most widely known American lagers are Budweiser, Miller, and Coors. Light American lagers are just the light forms of those—Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light. These are the safest options when you just don’t know what to go for.

Amber or Dark Lagers

Chances are you want to branch out and try something other than the usual suspects (American Lagers). German-style amber and dark lagers are characterized by an amber to reddish-brown hue and a thick, white head. Some of the most widely known lagers include Yuengling Traditional Lager, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Heineken, and Dos Equis. Corona Extra is also a lager but is characterized as a pale Mexican lager.

Ales

Unlike lagers, ales are fermented from the top and at warm temperatures. These beers are more robust and have higher alcohol content. They don’t go down quite as easily as lagers, but many people have developed a taste for them all the same. Ales are darker than lagers and have a cloudier body. Their flavor is bitter, and they have a strong hops flavor. There are more than 70 different types of ales, including the most popular, English India pale ale (IPA), as well as American ales, Belgian ales, imperial ales, and double India pale ales. Also in this category are stouts, porters, and many others.

Some mainstream ales that you may have tried include Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, Guinness (the most popular stout beer), and SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale. This category is where you can really branch out, sampling the hundreds of IPAs and other subcategories. IPAs and other pale ales are all very similar in taste to the untrained palette. Once you develop a taste for the different styles, though, you will be able to discern one from another if you enjoy the bitterness these beers are known for.

Visit or contact Payless Liquors today to learn more about the categories, brands, and character traits of the different beers available. Payless Liquor staff members are knowledgeable about the different subcategories and can help you choose the perfect beer for you.

How to Spike Your Winter Hot Chocolate

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There’s nothing quite like a piping hot mug of hot cocoa while watching the snow fall during the winter season. That is to say unless you’re an adult and would like a little alcohol to spice it up. If you’re looking to make your hot cocoa a little boozier, here are some delicious recipes to try!

Adult Hot Chocolate
If you are looking to keep hot cocoa as classic as possible but with a little kick, an adult hot chocolate might be just what you’re looking for. With rich chocolate, light spices, and the liquor of your choice, here’s how to make a cup for the next time you’re sitting by the fire.

Ingredients:

  • Cocoa powder
  • 2% milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • Chocolate chips
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1.5-ounce Baileys, whiskey, or other liquor of your choice

Add milk to a stovetop pot, and warm gradually, bringing it to a simmer. Add in cocoa powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon, chocolate chips, and sugar, and mix in until incorporated. Turn the stove to low and serve in mugs. Add the liquor of your choice to the hot cocoa concoction. The best pairings are often Baileys, whiskey, or rum.

The Peppermint Patty
If you are looking for a candy cane-inspired libation but are still craving that warm chocolatey comfort from hot cocoa, The Peppermint Patty might be just what you need while unwrapping your presents. Here’s how to get started on preparing your cup:

Ingredients:

  • One cup of hot chocolate
  • 1-ounce creme de cacao
  • 1-ounce peppermint schnapps

(Homemade Hot Cocoa Ingredients)

  • 2% or oat milk
  • Cocoa powder
  • Chocolate chips
  • Sugar

Start by brewing your hot chocolate, and while you can use store-bought hot chocolate powder in 2% or oat milk, you’ll get even more flavor by making it from scratch. You can make homemade hot cocoa on the stovetop by simmering the milk, then stirring in cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and sugar until they are dissolved.

Once finished, serve in a mug and add in the peppermint schnapps and creme de cacao for a delicious minty mug of Christmas joy.

Spiked and Spicy Hot Chocolate
If you’re looking to add a little spicy heat to your hot chocolate, this spiked-and-spicy hot chocolate will warm you up in more ways than one! Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • One cup of milk
  • 2-ounces milk chocolate
  • 1-ounce semi-sweet chocolate
  • One tablespoon of light brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Dash of salt
  • 1.5 ounces of dark spiced rum

Once again, you will start by simmering the milk on a stovetop and blending in the chocolate and sugar until melted. Next, add your spices to the pot, whisking them in thoroughly. Once it is fully blended, pour it into a mug and add the dark spiced rum.

Orange Spiked Boozy Hot Chocolate
Two of the titular treats of the winter season are oranges and chocolate, and this delightful concoction blends both in a fruity and rich eruption of flavors. To make a cup, you will need the following:

Ingredients:

  • One cup of milk
  • One tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • One tablespoon of brown sugar
  • One cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • One tablespoon of Grand Marnier

Bring the milk to a simmer in a stovetop pot, and incorporate in the cocoa powder, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until they’re dissolved. Add the cinnamon stick for additional flavor, pour into a mug, and finally, add the Grand Marnier for that orangey, zesty tang.

Rethink hot chocolate this season with these adult versions that are sure to warm you up. Contact Payless Liquors today for all of your alcohol add-ins for your chocolatey treat.

Drinks to Enhance Every Party

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Looking for a tasty cocktail to ring in the new year with? Nothing celebrates the holidays quite like a delicious holiday drink! If you’re hosting a holiday get-together or New Year’s bash, a cocktail is the perfect way to enhance your party. When planning your holiday party, here are a few easy-to-make and festive holiday drinks that are perfect for your gathering.

The Grinch Cocktail

Sure, the Grinch never confessed to having a lot of holiday cheer, but this cocktail will bring plenty of joy to your holiday party with a zingy, refreshing tang! To make a serving follow the recipe below:

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces vodka
  • ½ ounces melon liqueur
  • Lime juice from 3 wedges
  • Top with ginger ale
  • Garnish with green sugar, and a candy cane

Start by pouring the vodka and melon liqueur into an iced shaker. Next, juice the three wedges, cover them, and shake thoroughly before pouring them into a coupe glass or tumbler. Next, top with ginger ale. You can either do a splash for less seltzer or give a hearty pour if you like more bubbles in your cocktail.

For a party-size preparation of this cocktail, just combine the vodka, liqueur, and lime juice ahead of time and then ice it and top it with ginger ale when served. You can also pre-prepare the glasses with their garnish.

The Holly Jolly Christmas Cocktail

This classy holiday classic feels like Christmas in a cup, with the zestiness of a holiday orange, the sweetness of the liqueur, and some holiday herbs to tie together the perfect sampling of the season. Check out the ingredients you’ll need below:

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of vodka
  • ½ ounces of elderflower liqueur
  • ⅓ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (blood orange is best)
  • Top with ginger beer
  • Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint or thyme

Combine the vodka and liqueur in an iced shaker along with the freshly squeezed orange juice and shake thoroughly until frosty. Next, pour into a tumbler or punch glass using the ice from mixing or fresh ice, and top with a splash of ginger beer for some bubbles. And, of course, garnish with your sprig of mint for an amazing aroma or thyme for a more grounded, savory complement to the drink’s sweetness.

If preparing a large batch for your party, you can pre-combine the vodka, liqueur, and orange juice ahead of time, though be sure not to include ice until shaking! You can garnish the glasses ahead of time, as well.

The Spice Box

Hanukkah is another delightful part of the holiday season, and if you’re looking for a tasty drink to enjoy while your party lights the menorah, The Spice Box is a rich and delicious addition to your Hanukkah party! Here’s how to make a glass:

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon
  • ¾ ounces Besamim liqueur
  • ½ ounce coffee liqueur
  • Garnish with a lemon peel

Combine the bourbon with the Besamim liqueur and coffee liqueur in a tumbler or old-fashioned glass and stir gently. Add a large single ice cube, stirring gently once more before garnishing with a lemon peel.

To prepare for a party, you can pre-combine all ingredients and simply add them to ice and garnish as needed.

The French 75

One of mixology’s most classic cocktails, The French 75 is simple, delicious, and with its celebration of champagne as a signature ingredient, the perfect cocktail to ring in the new year! Here’s how to prepare a serving:

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces gin
  • 0.5 ounces of simple syrup
  • Top with champagne
  • Garnish with a lemon ribbon

Truly a simple but delightful cocktail; simply add the gin and simple syrup into a champagne flute, and then fill to the brim with champagne, garnishing with your lemon ribbon at the end. Be sure to keep the champagne chilled and corked until ready to serve to ensure you keep the drink bubbly and festive.

Enjoy these recipes this holiday season with your friends and family. Contact Payless Liquors today for more ideas on how to make your party festive.

Best Gifts for a Liquor Lover

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With Christmas Day fast approaching, many may still be looking for the perfect gift to get for friends and family. But when it comes to gifting for the cocktail lovers in your life, there are a lot of possibilities. Whether you’re looking to get the cocktail lover in your life the latest mixology gear, the perfect set of glasses, or of course, a delicious bottle of liquor, we have the guide you need to buy for the liquor lover in your life this Christmas!

New Glassware for Mixing and Drinking

Any cocktail maestro knows there is a glass for every occasion. Whether they are in need of a set of stout simple tumblers and old-fashioned glasses, classy and broad snifters, or a set of fun martini glasses for their next party, you should ask if there are any specific drink vessels that your friend or family member is in need of. Many aspiring home mixologists will be overjoyed to get a set of new glasses.

For cocktail lovers who already have their cabinets filled with an impressive collection of classic glasses, a decanter might be a great gift. Storing alcohol in a decanter allows for the liquor to breathe and helps to release more flavor. Similarly, a decanter can be the centerpiece of a bar, with a variety of intricate glass or even crystal stylings, as well as many different color options to match the bar’s ambiance.

Novelty glasses, like a fun, exotic tiki glass, are also a great gift idea for any cocktail lover, as these can be harder to find, and their whimsical appearance makes for a great conversation topic at parties.

Cocktail Books

Even the most experienced cocktail creators enjoy hearing about new recipes, and a cocktail book makes for a great gift to help the liquor lovers in your life expand their own home bar menus. Cocktail books can open the door to delicious new recipes or old undiscovered classics for a cocktail lover. There are even themed cocktail books that celebrate sports, movies, or shows that can be a great guide for themed parties.

Also, be sure to ask the cocktail lover in your life if there are any mixologists or chefs they admire. Most celebrity chefs and drink makers have their own mixology recipe books that not only have plenty of tasty recipes but also share their own stories about their journey as cocktail craftspeople.

Bartending Tools

For the up-and-coming mixologists, a great holiday gift to consider is a bar tool kit. These will consist of commonly used bar tools that many people who are just getting started in mixology don’t have in their kitchen cabinets. These kits include strainers, mixing spoons, measured shot glasses, and other important utensils that are key to making a cocktail.

For the more experienced mixologists, you can consider gifting them higher-ticket bartending tools like an immersion blender or a smoker to take their cocktail creation to the next level.

A Nice Bottle of Booze

There are few presents better to give your liquor-loving friends than a nice bottle of their favorite booze. Whether you are getting them a nicely aged whiskey or scotch, a deliciously distilled tequila, or a rare specialty liqueur, whatever liquor you buy them, Payless Liquors has a terrific selection to choose from.

What is a Negroni Sbagliato?

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The classic Negroni drink has undergone many iterations of change and experimentation since it appeared in the early 20th century. It was an experiment on the Americano, swapping the soda for gin. The base ingredients of the classic Negroni are equal amounts of gin, Campari, and vermouth. You have an entirely new drink by swapping the gin out with bourbon or rum.

The Negroni Sbagliato has recently come into new popularity as the result of Emma D’Arcy, star of HBO’s House of the Dragon, listing in their spell-binding voice the Sbagliato as their drink of choice. The Sbagliato is a form of the Negroni which switches the gin for sparkling wine, such as champagne or Prosecco, as D’Arcy added. It’s one of the most famous Italian cocktails. So how does making it differ from a classic Negroni?

The Classic Negroni

Though we’ve explained the base ingredients of a classic Negroni, the specifics are important. Campari is bold, and you don’t want the other elements to overpower or be overpowered by the bitter flavor. Select a sweet vermouth and gin pair that complements the Campari for the best Negroni drink.

Ingredients:

  • 1-ounce gin
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1-ounce sweet vermouth
  • Orange peel garnish

Add the gin, Campari, and vermouth in a mixing glass with ice, and stir until chilled. Then, strain the mix into a rocks glass or tumbler with a large ice cube and add the orange peel garnish.

A Negroni Sbagliato

Supposedly, the alcohol switch that created this cocktail was done by mistake or because of a lack of gin. Sbagliato means “mistake” or “bungled” in Italian, as this drink is a twist on the standard Negroni. It is delicious despite its apparent mistaken nature, replacing the gin of the classic Negroni with sparkling water such as champagne or Prosecco.

The classic Negroni is a more bitter drink, and it’s not for everyone. The Sbagliato is both sweet and bitter, thanks to the sweet vermouth, fortified wine-red vermouth, and Campari, a bitter dark red Italian liqueur mixed with the bubbly and bright Prosecco. The sparkling wine adds a sweetness to it that the gin doesn’t. It also makes the alcohol content of the Sbagliato lower than the classic Negroni.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounce Prosecco or sparkling wine
  • 1 ½ ounces Campari
  • 1 ½ ounces sweet vermouth
  • Orange peel garnish

Add the Campari and sweet vermouth in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Add the orange peel twist for a garnish. Once chilled, strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube and top off with the Prosecco or sparkling wine.

For Sbagliato served up, strain the Campari and vermouth into a champagne flute, add the Prosecco, and stir again.

A Sbagliato is a simple drink at home, and it’s a decadent cocktail you can spend the evening with. Find all the necessary ingredients at your local Payless Liquors and enjoy this delicious drink.

Creating the Perfect Hard Cider Cocktail

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It’s essential to enjoy the fall while it’s here, especially if you live somewhere that will be buried under snow in a couple of months. Now is the perfect time to enjoy a hard cider, with the crisp and cold weather that pairs perfectly with a little bite.

Whether you prefer warm or cold, there are plenty of options for a delicious ready-made cider on a chilly orange November evening. However, if you’re looking for something fun, you can create your cider cocktail with an apple-flavored whiskey, butterscotch, or apple vodka. You may even find your new go-to drink for these biting fall months.

The Apple Pie

Combining all the delicious flavors of fall, this cocktail is the perfect cool drink for an autumn night.

Ingredients:

  • 1-ounce vanilla vodka
  • ¾ ounce apple cider
  • ¾ ounce cinnamon whiskey
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • Hard cider
  • Cinnamon stick garnish

Add the vanilla vodka, cinnamon whiskey, apple cider, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake until chilled. Then, strain the mix into a rocks glass over ice, and top off the rest with hard cider. Add the cinnamon stick garnish.

Spiced Hard Cider

A simple recipe allows you to give your favorite hard cider an extra bite, complementing the flavors and making the drink a little extra special.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounce spiced rum
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ¼ ounce syrup
  • Hard cider
  • Cinnamon stick garnish

Combine the spiced rum, syrup, and lime juice into a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake until chilled. Add an optional garnish of a cinnamon stick. Strain over a glass of ice and top off the remainder of the tumbler with your favorite brand of hard cider.

Sparkling Hard Apple Cider Sangria

Perfect to make for yourself or have the pitcher on hand for a seasonal gathering; this cocktail is a sweet and refreshing drink for autumn.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brandy
  • Five 12-ounce bottles of hard cider
  • 2-3 ounces of orange juice
  • 2 ounces of lemon juice
  • One apple, diced
  • One orange, sliced
  • Two cinnamon sticks, additional for garnish

Place the cut fruit into a large pitcher, and then add the brandy, cinnamon sticks, lemon, and orange juice. Mix, and chill the mixture, giving the cinnamon about half an hour to flavor the brandy. Add the apple cider, stir before serving, and garnish glasses with a cinnamon stick.

Hard Cider Mule

An autumn spin on a classic drink, this refreshing cocktail could be the perfect drink tonight.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of apple vodka
  • 1 ½ ounces ginger beer
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • Hard cider
  • Mint sprig and lime for garnish

In a tumbler or copper mug, combine vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer over ice, and then top off with your favorite hard cider. Stir the mixture, and garnish with a slice of lime and mint sprig, if you want.

Pick up all the ingredients you need to make the perfect cocktail at your local Payless Liquors.

Must Try Thanksgiving Cocktails

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As we barrel towards the holidays, it’s a great time to discover some easy fall cocktails. When you need the perfect cocktail to pair with your holiday meal, you want a simple-to-make and delightful cocktail perfect for the season. Whether you want a glass for yourself or to impress the family gathering at Thanksgiving, we have some delicious fall drinks to spice up your day.

Apple Cider Bellini Cocktail

A simple cocktail recipe for one or for a group, this drink fits perfectly with the chill in the air and upcoming festivities. Here’s how you can make one serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1-ounce apple cider
  • One teaspoon of orange liqueur
  • One teaspoon of maple syrup
  • Chilled Prosecco to fill the rest of the glass
  • Rosemary sprigs for a garnish

Shake the apple cider, orange liqueur, and maple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice until chilled. Pour this mixture into your champagne glass and pour in the Prosecco. Then garnish with a rosemary sprig.

For a larger serving, keep the shaken ingredients separate from the Prosecco and keep them chilled until you’re ready to serve.

Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour

Perfect for a warming feeling as winter starts in full force, this sour whiskey offers just a touch of sweetness for a delicious drink. For one glass, follow these steps, and multiply by servings desired as necessary.

Ingredients:

  • Three tablespoons bourbon
  • Two tablespoons of lemon juice
  • Three teaspoons of maple syrup
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled ⅔ with ice until chilled. Strain the mixture over fresh ice in your glass and enjoy.

Cranberry Sangria

When you know you’ve got a big holiday gathering, this sangria is excellent to serve alongside an incredible meal. Easy to make, put in a pitcher, and refrigerate for a couple of days as you work on the rest of the meal; this drink is easy to make and serve. For about four servings in a medium pitcher, follow these steps.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup whole cranberries
  • Two apples, diced, tossed with lemon juice
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • ¼ cup cranberry juice
  • One bottle of white wine
  • 1 cup seltzer water

Put the diced apples and whole cranberries into your pitcher, then pour in the apple cider, cranberry juice, and white wine. Stir, then chill in the refrigerator for about an hour. Serve and enjoy!

Nutty Irishman Cocktail

A rich and unique cocktail, this drink is perfect for a cold night, combining creaminess with a nutty liqueur for a decadent holiday drink.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces Irish cream
  • 1 ½ ounce hazelnut liqueur
  • ½ tablespoon crushed hazelnuts
  • Whipped cream

Add the Irish cream and hazelnut liqueur to a cocktail shaker, then fill with ice. Shake until frosty, then strain into a champagne coupe. Add whipped cream and dust the crushed hazelnuts over as a garnish.

Enjoy these simple cocktails this holiday season. Impress friends and family with your recipes, or enjoy them as you settle into the holiday season. Visit your local Payless Liquors today for more fall drink recipes or all the cocktail ingredients you could need.

Tailgating Without Beer

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We’re deep in football season this time of year, and it’s a beautiful excuse to gather friends and family together for a fantastic tailgate. Whether you’re tailgating at a big stadium or from your own home, you want to be sure that the food and drinks are fun and perfect for the day of the big game. You must have go-to options that are fast and delicious and ideally come in cans or a pitcher that you can pass around—cheers to your team, together with a fantastic drink this game season.

Beer isn’t the only option for your football game tailgate. Though it’s an old standard, plenty of other drinks can have you in the festivities if you’re not a beer fan. Hard seltzers are an excellent option for your gathering, and hard ciders are perfect for this crisp fall time of year. Any number of mixed drinks, from screwdrivers to lemonade and whiskey to spiking your favorite brand of sweet tea with vodka or bourbon, offer a perfect spice to your tailgate.

Ready-made cocktails are also a great option if you’re going away from home for the tailgate and cannot whip up your own cocktail. However, if you have the time and means for a leisurely cocktail, there are some great game-day options for a simple cocktail.

Grape Sparkler

Sweet and delightful to look at, this drink is a simple and sweet cocktail for the football bash.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups red seedless grapes, plus 1 cup sliced grapes
  • Two tablespoons lemon juice
  • Two tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups seltzer
  • ¾ cup vodka

Blend the whole grapes, honey, and lemon juice, and pour it through a strainer into a pitcher. Add seltzer, vodka, and sliced grapes, and stir. Pour into ice-filled glasses, and garnish with grapes.

Gatorade Margarita

You can use any sports drink for this margarita, and it’s perfect for a long day of cheering and celebration.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup blue decorating sugar
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 1 20-ounce bottle of blue sports drink, cold
  • 1 cup limeade concentrate, frozen and thawed
  • 1 cup white tequila
  • ⅓ cup blue Curaçao
  • Orange slices garnish

Mix sugar and salt, and rim rocks glasses in the mixture. In a large pitcher, mix your blue sports drink, limeade concentrate, white tequila, and blue Curaçao. Stir, and then pour into the rock glasses over ice. Garnish with an orange slice, if you want.

Hurricane Cocktail

For a strong drink for your tailgate, look to this fruity cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces light rum
  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • 1-ounce lime juice
  • 1-ounce orange juice
  • ½ ounce passion fruit puree
  • ½ ounce syrup
  • One teaspoon grenadine
  • Orange slice and cherry garnish

Add both rums, fruit juices, passion fruit puree, syrup, and grenadine in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a Hurricane glass over ice. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.

For all the necessary supplies for an incredible tailgate this football season, visit your local Payless Liquor.

Autumn Cocktails Perfect for Cooler Days

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It’s the time for crunchy leaves and crisp air, and the perfect Autumn cocktail goes hand in hand with them. Whether for a Halloween party or just looking to cozy up with the ideal feeling of Fall, a spirited cocktail can be the right way to go. From cider drinks to eking out the last bit of sunshine, here are some libations to set you in the mood.

The Sunflower

If you love Fall, chances are sunflowers are one of your favorite flowers. This is the right cocktail for you if that’s the case! Soak up those last precious rays of sun before the weather cools down.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces gin – Stick to the classic Hendricks for this one
  • 1 ½ ounces Cointreau
  • 1 ½ ounces St. Germain
  • 1 ½ ounces lemon juice

Combine all elements in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until entirely chilled. You can use whatever kind of glass you like. Strain the shaker mixture into two glasses. Garnish with a twist of lemon and an actual sunflower petal if you have them.

Spiked Apple Cider

This drink is the definition of fall time coziness. You can relax with this Autumn warmer cocktail with hot apple cider and bourbon.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ½ cups apple cider
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves, whole
  • 1 star anise, whole
  • 8 ounces bourbon – We love Makers Mark

Add all the ingredients, except the bourbon, to a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and let the cider mixture simmer. Removing from the heat, strain out all the solids. In a mug, add 2 Ounces of Bourbon, and top with 1 Cup of mulled cider.

Haymaker

For the ultimate relaxer, try this cocktail that really packs a punch. It also works well in a large batch for parties and celebrations.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ ounce bourbon
  • ¾ ounce Triple Sec
  • ¾ ounce dry vermouth
  • ¾ ounce lime juice

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with a generous amount of ice, and shake until thoroughly chilled. Then, strain it into an Old Fashioned glass.

Brandy and Cider Sidecar

Bring back the cider for this delightful take on a tried-and-true classic. With Brandy as the base spirit, you can’t go wrong with this combination of flavors that are perfect for any Autumnal activity.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounce brandy
  • 1 ½ ounce Cointreau
  • 3 ounces apple cider
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • Angostura bitters to taste

With a shaker full of ice, add all the ingredients. Shake until thoroughly chilled. Strain into a coupe cocktail glass, and garnish with a cherry.

Cran Fizz

While most people dream of apple and pumpkin flavors this time of year, we can’t ignore a good cranberry cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces gin—shoot for a classic like Bombay Sapphire
  • 4 ounces ginger ale, chilled
  • 1 cup simple syrup
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh

Heat the simple syrup to a boil, then reduce the heat and add the cranberries, cooking until they burst. Let the mixture cool. Add the gin and simple syrup mixture to the shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Strain into two glasses, and then top with ginger ale. Garnish with the candied cranberries, and enjoy.

These cocktails will keep you cozy all season long. Visit your local Payless Liquors today!

4 Riffs on a Classic Old Fashioned

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The Old Fashioned is a classic libation for Fall, and with the season upon us, now is the best time to enjoy this drink. Rich flavors are the best to lean into this time of year, and that’s why we’ve got 4 riffs on your classic Old Fashioned for Fall.

Apple Brandy Old Fashioned

Brandy isn’t your typical spirit for an Old Fashioned, but that’s what makes it perfect for an updated version of this cocktail. Apple flavors punch up this drink and make us feel cozy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce apple brandy – We recommend Huber Applejack Brandy
  • 1 ounce brandy
  • ½ ounce brown sugar simple syrup*
  • Angostura Bitters to taste, 2-3 dashes should do the trick.

In a rocks glass, combine all the ingredients over one large ice cube. Stir to fully incorporate all the elements and serve with an orange peel or twist.

*Brown sugar simple syrup is as easy to make as the regular simple syrup: equal parts water and brown sugar. If you’re feeling frisky, add a cinnamon stick to spice it up.

Mezcal Old Fashioned

While so many cocktails use just one spirit as their flavor base, this one takes it up a notch with mezcal and bourbon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces mezcal – We recommend Dos Tiranos Mezcal
  • 1 ounce bourbon – We recommend Makers Mark
  • 2 teaspoons Orgeat
  • Angostura bitters to taste

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir with ice until chilled. Strain the concoction into an Old Fashioned glass over ice. Garnish your cocktail with an orange twist and grated cinnamon for an extra kick.

Smoked Rosemary Old Fashioned

Rosemary has been having a moment in cocktails lately, so this recipe is timely. With just a little extra work, you can create a cocktail that will change how you drink your Old Fashioned.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces bourbon – Try Old Forester Bourbon
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • Angostura bitters – A dash or two will do
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary

In an Old Fashioned glass, pour bourbon over ice, adding the simple syrup and bitters. Light the rosemary sprigs on fire and put it over the drink while it’s smoking. Cover the drink and the rosemary with a cocktail shaker and let rest for about 10 seconds. Then, take the shaker and the sprig away and enjoy your smoked rosemary-infused Old Fashioned. Cheers!

New Old Fashioned

This one is a complete departure from the classic. With gin as a base, we completely mix up the palate with floral flavors, but this departure will liven up the season.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces gin – Try Junipero Gin, with its bright, piney flavor
  • ½ ounce St. Germain
  • Orange bitters to taste

Combine all ingredients over ice and stir. Strain the mixture into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a grapefruit twist to add a little extra flavor to this gin concoction. Enjoy.

The quiet of the season pairs well with a bit of spirit experimentation. Visit your local Payless Liquors today for all your beverage essentials.

Why Not Rye?

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Whiskey has, of course, been around for years, but rye is seeing a new and exciting resurgence in the drink market. As a versatile grain, rye is used for vodka, beer, and whiskey. With distilleries across the country, both large and small, rye whiskey is a flavorful beverage that is gaining a whole new following.

Cask finishing is one way that all the many types of rye whiskeys separate from their competition, and the body of rye lends itself well to the process. Its clean finish is better suited to casks than bourbon’s heavier one.

While the United States has a long tradition and history of rye whiskey, its origins aren’t necessarily stateside. German immigrants brought the tradition with them in the mid-1600s while they were settling in modern-day Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Germany had a rich history of rye whiskey production, even then.

We can credit the German immigrants with bringing the rye process to the United States. Still, we can also credit the Dutch with the industrialization of distilling, and they made a spirit very similar to rye whiskey. The Dutch had been making genever with rye for many years. Luckily, rye grew plentifully in America, thus solidifying rye’s usage in distillation.

Before Prohibition, rye was America’s dark spirit choice rather than bourbon. Because of Prohibition, many distilleries that produced rye closed and never reopened, and rye was notoriously difficult to find for several years.

As for rye whiskey, a serious resurgence has been going on for some 15 years after its production had previously died off in the 90s. We’re lucky today that so many people in the industry have taken rye whiskey on as a quest, and while innovation can be great, staying power is excellent too.

Bulleit Rye is one of the classics that Payless Liquors offers. With its smooth, crisp finish and notes of vanilla, spice, and honey throughout, this is a great sipper on the rocks, neat, or as the base spirit for a number of cocktails.

Rittenhouse is another rye whiskey offering. Long a beloved choice for bartenders, Rittenhouse has an herbal, sweet taste to start, then transitions quickly to roasty, dark flavors, such as oak and licorice. Perfect for a classic Old Fashioned or Manhattan, its flavor can handle nearly every kind of whiskey-based drink.

Did you know that Old Overholt is America’s oldest rye whiskey brand? In production since 1810, this rye whiskey is no spirit to turn your nose up to. They’re still capable of producing an excellent core rye that’s being aged for four years rather than the previous three. They also make some higher-octane distillations and offer an 11-year-aged rye as well. Old Overholt has a citrusy bouquet and sweet caramel and vanilla scents. A perfect cocktail or sipping rye.

Rye has a long and rich history in the United States. With over 200 years of production and enjoyment, it has a staying power worth noting. See our full list of Rye Whiskey offerings, and try a new Rye today.