Summer to Fall Cocktails

Today we’re talking all about cocktails. We’ve been expanding our selection of cocktail accoutrements at Des Moines Mercantile and are excited to highlight some of our favorite barware and one of our favorite cocktail recipe books, guaranteed to impress your guests at home.

For this post, we had the pleasure of working with photographer Jordon Van Zante to make all our pretty cocktail dreams come true.

First, the Verve juicer — a personal love of mine. Two summers ago I was juicing lemons by hand by the dozens for many pans of lemon bars when a dear friend dropped this juicer off for me to try. It’s an absolute game changer. It gets every last drop of juice from your citrus with such little physical effort. It absolutely saved my wrists from my sporadic carpel tunnel flare-ups as well as saving me So. Much. Time. Highly, highly recommend this juicer.


Next, our trio of hammered copper cocktail accessories has become a favorite of Mallory’s. They’re beautiful. They’re elegant. They’re lightweight. They’re all 100% copper, and they’re all made in the same place so the mugs, the shaker and the jigger pair perfectly together if you’re looking for a matching set for your bar cart.

copper cup

It’s that weird time of year, transitioning from summer to fall. The days can be 100 degrees with 100% humidity, but school is starting. The pool is open, but the shops are putting out autumnal decor. The sun is still setting later, but there are more leaves on the ground all the time. To help you ease into the transition we have some cocktail inspirations that have all the brightness of summer and all the moodiness of autumn.

The full recipes for these cocktails can be found in The New York Times Essential Book of Cocktails, our current favorite cocktail recipe book. It has hundreds of different cocktails to try, all developed and tested by professionals — everything from your classics to funky new ones you’ve never heard of. We carry it here in the shop as well as on our online store. These recipes can also be found online on NYT Cooking if you’re a subscriber.


The first cocktail is a take on a Paper Plane, substituting apple brandy for bourbon and grapefruit juice for lemon juice as well as adding in some dark rum. It’s called:

The Wright Flyer (pg. 545)

It calls for:

  • Demerara sugar
  • Bitters
  • Apple brandy
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Amaro
  • Aperol
  • Dark rum
  • Apple slices

cocktail shaker

You’ll need a cocktail shaker and ice for this one. It’s tart and tangy from the apple and grapefruit juice while simultaneously smooth from the brandy and dark rum — a perfect, late August/early September drink. And might we suggest our pebbled glass goblet as the ideal vessel to show off this sparkling cocktail? These hammered glasses are the perfect blend of beauty and practicality. They’re thick-walled which makes them great for keeping your drink cooler for longer as well as less prone to breakage. Find our tumblers of the same type here.

old fashioned

The next cocktail is a twist on a classic Old-Fashioned.

Josey Packard’s Autumnal Old-Fashioned (pg.115)

You’ll need:

  • Cinnamon
  • simple syrup and regular simple syrup
  • Apple whiskey
  • Bitters
  • Orange peel

Add ice and stir with one of our magical seashell or deer head cocktail stirrers. Showing off this drink is one of our handblown glass tumblers. Handblown in Jalisco, Mexico, each glass is crafted individually so each one is unique.

old fashioned

We hope this inspires you to get crafty in your kitchen, whether its following a recipe or making one of your own, curating a bar cart of matching accessories or thrifting an eclectic assortment, making something new for a friend or just for yourself. Cheers to the end of summer and beginning of fall!

All photos for this post were taken by Des Moines photographer Jordon Van Zante -


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