Cocktails with Kate & James: Fall Favorites


James DeFayette, Tripleseat’s Hotel Onboarding Specialist, and I were thrilled to bring you guys a fall 2021 edition of Cocktails with Kate & James. As I was adding this post to our site, I realized the last time we hosted one was in November of 2020! That’s right, folks; it’s been almost an entire year since James and I graced you with our cocktail knowledge. Crazy. But, what was even more exciting is that this was our very first Cocktails with Kate & James filmed onsite, together, at Tripleseat headquarters in Concord, Mass. We’ve come so far.

Since we just entered my favorite season — fall — we figured it was a great time to talk about two of our favorite seasonal cocktails: the Apple Cider Margarita and Fall Sangria. Let’s jump right into those recipes, shall we?

For the recording, we batched our cocktails to show how much time it can save your bar staff to do the same. Sangria is almost always batched beforehand, but margaritas are often made one at a time, so for the margarita recipe, I’ll share it per drink, and you can multiply it to batch as many as you’d like at once. 

Kate’s Apple Cider Margarita

  • 1 ounce of tequila (Almost any tequila would work in this recipe. I always gravitate towards silver tequilas, but I think gold would work very well with these flavors.)
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec
  • 4 ounces fresh apple cider
  • splash of fresh lime juice

Pour all ingredients into a shaker and shake with ice. Strain the mixture into a margarita glass over fresh ice. If you pre-batch these, simply pour the batched mixture into a shaker glass and shake with ice before serving.

You can rim the glass if you’re feeling fancy. For this margarita, I think a simple cinnamon and sugar rim works excellent. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and lime wedge.

James’ Fall Sangria

Most bartenders already know that sangria is a labor of love, and measurements commonly are not used. You simply grab a large Cambro container and add ingredients at will, tasting as you go to ensure it’s the perfect blend. So here are the ingredients that James combined for his delicious fall sangria.

  • Red wine (I have found that pinot noir and grenache work best for sangria.)
  • Brandy marinated with stone fruits
  • Triple sec
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Orange juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Apple cider
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ginger ale (as a topper when serving)

First, start by marinating your brandy with stone fruits. The marinating process takes about 12-24 hours. Simply combine your brandy with cut-up stone fruit and let it sit in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. Some examples of stone fruits that work well are peaches, cherries, plums, and apricots.

When you’re ready to create your sangria, just start adding the ingredients into a large container and taste as you go. You can also throw in some orange and apple slices to help the flavor build. Once you’ve let your sangria sit overnight to marinate properly, just pour some over ice in a wine glass, top with ginger ale, and garnish with whatever fruit you’d like. 

See these recipes in action

In case you missed it live, watch James and I make these delicious fall-inspired cocktails Cocktails with Kate & James below.

Resources from this episode: