Fall is invariably a period of both literal and figurative transition. As temperatures begin to swing downward and nightfall hits just a bit sooner with each passing calendar day, the halcyon glow of summer often fades into a gnawing urge to re-establish routine in preparation for the cold months ahead. Luckily, there’s a slew of warming cocktails beginning to surface around Portland — ideal for breaking up the monotony of returning to responsible adult living.

Here are five stress-crushing cocktails to seek out this fall, all of which are tailor-fit for tackling that autumn anxiety.

venas a walk in the woods.jpeg

The "Walk in the Woods" at Vena's Fizz House

1. Vena’s Fizz House

"A Walk in the Woods"

Murky, mysterious and most certainly haunted, this spirit-driven (get it?) delight is as unique a drink you’ll find in Portland right now. Shroom-infused bourbon, maple, lemon and North Spore chaga mushroom tincture combine for an earthy and complex libation with notes of vanilla, minerals and crushed rock. It’s a ghastly spectacle best served alongside a ghost-pepper driven mocktail called the Maine Fire Fizz, which adds an entirely new dimension to the chaga’s magical cedar-like qualities. | www.venasfizzhouse.com

Chaval Nogal 1.jpeg

The Nogal at Chaval


"The Nogal"

Forget the aperol spritz that’s been getting you through the heat and humidity — it’s rye time, baby. Nowhere does the spirit shine better than at Chaval, where it provides a stiff base for The Nogal. A darker, sexier take on the classic old fashioned, The Nogal balances a hefty dose of rye whiskey with Italian vermouth, campari and walnut liquor for a slightly medicinal, subtly sweet finished product that deserves to be sipped aside a cackling fire. Woody with rounded edges and notes of candied orange, it’s a show-stopper of a drink. | www.chavalmaine.com

central equinox.jpeg

The Equinox at Central Provisions

3. Central Provisions


The transition from summer to fall can be experienced at once in Central Provisions Equinox, a bright and lively cocktail that brights to the table the best of what each season embodies. A concoction of blanco tequila, amaro dell'etna, dry vermouth, suze, sea smoke bitters and lemon, Equinox awakens the palate with a pleasant bitterness and dry complexity. Smoky, citrus-driven and dangerously drinkable, it’s sure to smooth things out in times of uncertainty. | www.central-provisions.com

bramhall basic witch.jpeg

The Basic Witch at Bramhall

4. Bramhall

"The Basic Witch"

Playfully self-aware, the Basic Witch at Bramhall answers that pumpkin spice latte question and then some. Spiced rum, averna, a cinnamon/allspice gomme and housemade pumpkin cream hits Starbucks with two middle fingers while somehow resulting in untamed waves of warming spice and Halloween-centric vibes. This is a dessert drink in every sense of the word, but one of the few you’ll encounter that are actually worth ordering. | www.bramhallme.com

lolita midnight stinger.jpeg

The Midnight Stinger at Lolita

5. Lolita

"Midnight Stinger"

You might need to ask for this one off-menu, but it’s worth it. The Midnight Stinger at Lolita on Munjoy Hill is essentially the perfect nightcap, thanks in large part to its simplicity — we’re talking bourbon, Fernet Branca, lemon and simple syrup. It’s set up like a sour, but drinks deep with warm herbal notes from the Fernet. Incredibly well-balanced, there’s simply no better way to cap off a meal in the East End. | 90 Congress St, Portland | www.lolita-portland.com

Erik Neilson is a writer, musician and passionate foodhead based in Portland, ME.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.