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When the temperature drops, it's time to put down that cold beer and push your glass of
chilled white wine to side. Crisp autumn weather calls for a return to the pleasures of classic, brown-spirit cocktails.

Here are the four timeless drinks you should be ordering now, plus easy tricks for giving each a fresh update:

The Classic Manhattan: The Manhattan is sibling to the Martini, with straight rye whiskey substituted for gin or vodka, and sweet vermouth instead of dry vermouth. Rounded out with a dash of Angostura bitters and a maraschino cherry, the cocktail can either be served up or on the rocks.

The Update: Try brightening the cocktail with two dashes of orange liqueur such as Curaçao or using bourbon in place of rye.

The Classic Sidecar: Incredibly simple to make, the Sidecar comprises equal parts of three ingredients (brandy, Cointreau and fresh lemon juice), shaken and served in a chilled Old Fashioned glass.

The Update: Give this drink a fall twist by using apple brandy or applejack as a substitute for the brandy.


The Classic Negroni: We'd argue that there's no better bittersweet apertivo (a drink to begin a meal) than the Negroni. It's incredibly thirst-quenching, but still packs a lot of punch thanks to equal parts fragrant herbal gin, sweet vermouth and bitter Campari.

The Update: The traditional recipe is easily lightened up by using white vermouth instead or red.

The Classic Sazerac:
A New Orleans classic, the Sazerac is the oldest known American cocktail. Tip your hat to history with the original formulation of a jigger of Cognac, a dash of Peychaud's bitters, a rinse of absinthe and a lemon twist.

The Update: If you don't happen to have a supply of old-fashioned absinthe on hand, green Chartreuse or an anise-flavored liqueur like Pernod and Ricard makes a fitting substitute.