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5 cocktails for dark nights

Autumn Cocktails

Autumn officially doesn't start until 22 September. Perhaps we should instead be celebrating the last few precious moments of summer, but the weather doesn't seem to be playing ball. The nights are drawing in whether we like it or not and in those long winter nights, we could all do with a cocktail pick me up. 

As the nights get darker, our attentions are turning to darker spirits. Rum, Whisk(e)y and Brandy cocktails all get mentioned in our list below of the best dark night cocktails to enjoy in the upcoming Autumn nights. Let us know in the comments below what your favourite Autumn cocktails are or if you're including any of these dark night cocktails on your lists as the sun sets on another 'classic' British summer.

Old Fashioned Cocktail

You know the nights are drawing in when whisky returns to the front and centre. No other cocktail has quite as much history as the Old Fashioned. The first documented definition of the word "cocktail" was used to refer to a mix of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar over 200 years ago. The Old Fashioned (and the sidecar below) tie into the renewed interest in classic cocktails being seen in the UK. Perhaps the Old Fashioned being Don Draper’s favourite cocktail in Mad Men has something to do with it.



Place the sugar cube in an Old Fashioned glass and add the bitters and water, over the cube. Muddle until the sugar has dissolved into the liquid and fill the glass with cubed ice. Pour over the whisky and give a stir. Garnish with an orange slice, cocktail cherry or both.

Sidecar Cocktail

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The Sidecar was invented sometime around the end of the First World War. The exact origin is not known however it first appears in print in 1922, inside Harry MacElhone's Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails. It’s always consisted of Brandy, Lemon Juice and Triple sec although the proportions have been debated. In this recipe we’re using the IBA measurements. It’s named after the motorcycle attachments which were popular at the time.



Add all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Dark and Stormy Cocktail

Warming Ginger Beer gives this simple cocktail a real Autumnal feel. It’s another cocktail invented around the end of the First World War. The original, made with Goslings Dark Rum is the national drink of Bermuda. The name is said to originate from a sailor who on observing the dark cloudy drink commented that it was the “colour of a cloud only a fool or a dead man would sail under”.



Pour the rum into an ice filled highball glass. Top with ginger beer and add the lime and bitters. Stir and serve, garnishing with a wedge of lime.

Frangelico Hot Chocolate Cocktail

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As the nights get colder we could all do with something to warm ourselves with. Escaping the cold with a boozy Hot Chocolate is tried and tested, whether it be adding Amaretto, Whisk(e)y, Kahlua or Baileys. If like me, you can never stop at just one Fierro Rocher, you’ll love combining Hazelnut liqueur Frangelico and indulgent Hot Chocolate. It’s a super simple serve and great for adding incremental margin to your hot drinks during dark nights.


  • 150 ml Milk
  • 35ml Double cream
  • 25g Chocolate
  • 50 ml Frangelico
  • (Alternatively some Hot Chocolate powder and 200ml of hot milk)


Depending on how you wish to make your Hot Chocolate; add the milk, cream and chocolate to a saucepan and gently whisk while bringing to boil. Pour into a mug or latte glass and add the Frangelico. Give a stir and serve with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. If using Hot Chocolate powder, simply add the Frangelico, stir and serve.

Irish Coffee Cocktail

Staying with hot, simple cocktail serves, the Irish Coffee needs little to no introduction. The drink is at least 150 years old and unsurprisingly gets its name from its origins in County Limerick. It was popularised in the US during the 1950’s after being served to American tourists visiting Ireland.


  • 40 ml Irish whiskey
  • 80 ml Hot coffee
  • 30 ml Fresh thick cream
  • 1 tsp Brown sugar


Pour the warm black coffee into an Irish coffee (or latte) glass. Pour in the whiskey and stir in the sugar until fully dissolved. The sugar is important in ensuring the cream will float. Pour the cream gently over the back of a spoon so that it layers on top of the coffee. The coffee should be drunk through the cream rather than them stirred together.

There we go! Let us know what you think in the comments and don't forget to share with us your favourite Autumn cocktails. We're here to support you with everything that you need to make your cocktail range a success, from free menu design and print and barware at exclusive Matthew Clark price. Click here to order any of the products mentioned online now, or click here to open an account with us.


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