Fall doesn’t always mean pumpkin.
From caramel apple cider sangria to spiced squash ale, these five North Fork beverages can be your new go-to for autumn in a glass. They share one common theme: None contains pumpkin.
No. 139 Red Cider
Wölffer Estate Vineyard
Just in time for fall, Wölffer Estate Vineyard has rounded out its sparkling hard cider portfolio with the introduction of No. 139 Red Cider. The Sagaponack winery previously released two varietals of sparkling hard cider — Wölffer’s No. 139 white and rosé ciders — five years ago. The new cider is described as a vibrant, food-friendly sparkling cider made from New York State dessert apples grown and handpicked at DeFisher Fruit Farms in Rochester. Winemaker Roman Roth said the versatile cider could be paired with anything from Mexican to Asian cuisine, to a cheese plate or even s’mores by the campfire. 139 Sagg Road, Sagaponack; wolffer.com
Caramel Apple Cider Sangria
Pure North Fork
This refreshing fall cocktail tastes like a candy apple for adults. Made with apple cider sourced from various North Fork farms, this drink is a staple on Pure North Fork’s cocktail list each autumn. Manager Sarajoy Vannertter first mixed up the Caramel Apple Cider Sangria two years ago as a take on the traditional white and red versions that are popular during the summer months. The sangria is made with a combination of caramel vodka and not-too-dry pinot grigio mixed with local cider and finished with a festive caramel rim. The cinnamon stick garnish gives it extra fall flair. 141 Fairway Drive, Wading River; purenorthfork.com
Butternut the Hutt
North Fork Brewing Co.
There are no pumpkin beers on tap at North Fork Brewing Co. The Riverhead brewery instead opted for a different type of gourd for its fall beer: butternut squash. Butternut the Hutt is a spiced squash ale that has similar characteristics as its pumpkin cousin but with a cleaner, less-sweet finish than what is found in many traditional pumpkin ales. Owners Ian Van Bourgondien and Peter Barraud bake up locally grown butternut squash with a mix of spices and brown sugar and infuse it into the beer. The aroma of grandma’s kitchen is the first impression the brew makes. The flavor profile includes hints of nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice — the perfect fall sip. 24 E. 2nd St., Riverhead; northforkbrewingco.com
Apple Pie Moonshine
Twin Stills Moonshine
This slightly sweet and soul-warming moonshine is smooth enough to drink straight and is extra festive in a cocktail. The 50-proof spirit is the base of two libations served at Twin Stills Moonshine: The o’Oldtymer — prepared with drizzle of caramel sauce on the rocks — and The Red Neck — mixed with cranberry juice and garnished with a lemon wedge. Given its name, it should be no surprise that Apple Pie Moonshine makes for a sweet dessert drink. Owner Joe Cunha recommends blending it with vanilla ice cream, local apple cider and cinnamon for the ultimate fall treat. Go ahead, top it with whipped cream, you deserve it. 5506 Sound Ave., Riverhead; liooldtymer.com.
Crannie Apple Cranberry
Cranberry sauce on the Thanksgiving table is not the only way to enjoy the tart and vibrantly colored fruit. The award-winning Crannie Apple Cranberry at Riverhead Ciderhouse balances two signature fall flavors. Cidermaker William Loughlin implements a two-step process — adding cranberry juice to the cider and then fermenting — to make the festive pink-hued drink. The result is a cider that begins with a sweet apple flavor and finishes with a burst of tart cranberry.2711 Sound Ave., Calverton; riverheadcider.com.