Temperatures may still be hovering in the 70s but make no mistake: autumn is
coming here. And there are few things better than cuddling up and sipping a fall-themed cocktail to warm your insides on a chilly evening. Whether cupping a piping hot toddy or feeling the firewater heat you from within, there's no denying that the flavors of fall hold a special place in our booze-loving hearts.
Around town, mixologists are ready to tap into your foliage-induced hysteria with inventive beverages for the season. Here are ten of our favorites:
Lots of restaurants are taking advantage of apple season and infusing the sweet and tart flavors into their cocktails. At Perilla, opt for the 91 North ($14, pictured above), which gives you apple two ways: first with a healthy dose of calvados, which is stirred over ice with chai-infused sweet vermouth, a few dashes of old fashioned bitters, then strained into a glass and finished with apple cider. If you're really serious about apples, the Adam and Veev ($18) at Jezebel is your best bet. Fresh apples are muddled with Veev Açaí spirit (a slightly bitter açaí berry-distilled liquor), apple jack and lemon juice.
Its big brother may get all the credit, but the crabapple deserves some praise too and the folks at Crave Fishbar are here to sing it. The Crabhattan ($13) riffs on a classic Manhattan with Rittenhouse Rye, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, herbaceous Amarno Nonino and Angostura Bitters, sweetened with local apple cider and garnished with a dehydrated crab apple.
Geoff Grassau at Huckleberry Bar created the Mother Teresa ($10)—named for his mom, aww!—which pairs Denizen white rum and dry Fino Sherry with Velvet Falernum (an alcoholic sugar cane-based liqueur with notes of lime and almond) and orange bitters.
The quince, another under-utilized fruit, makes an appearance in the LI Fizz at Macao Trading Co.: Quince Jam syrip and pear puree are livened up with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice then shaken over ice and topped with Appleton rum and spicy ginger beer. Bonus: all the fruit is locally-sourced.
Darker liquors may be more common in the colder months, but this year gin makes a play for spirit of the season. Over at LT Burger, Beefeater Gin's herby notes get amplified with Aperol and Carpano Antica with the Dangerous Liaison ($11, pictured left). At Back Forty West, we have the Little Jack Horner ($13, pictured right), where Averell Damson Plum Gin gets a more mellow, fruity treatment with Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, fresh lime juice and honey simple syrup, garnished with a festive sprig of thyme.
While the Smoke Signal ($14) at Ember Room has a similar flavor profile to the LJH (gin, muddled orange, lemon/lime juice and honey), mixologist Joseph Boroski elevated this cocktail to another level with the addition of muddled blueberries and actual smoke. To create this unique element, Maplewood chips are ignited in a hand-hand smoker and the resulting smoke is captured inside the glass.
Because a cold-weather cocktails list wouldn't be complete without something served hot, enter the Ruby Sipper at Marble Lane. Bourbon and Ruby Port get a hot and spicy kick with cinnamon tea; just try to feel the cold after two or three of those!
The massive bar at Raymi, the excellent Peruvian restaurant from Richard Sandoval (Maya), puts Pisco front and center, with over 30 exotic house-infused Piscos including Lemongrass, Purple Corn, Jasmine Tea, Tangerine, and Apricot. It's true that the colorless or (yellowish-to-amber colored) grape brandy may not be the first thing you think of for a fall cocktail, but the restaurant's namesake drink, The Raymi, is a sweet and rich companion to an early autumn evening. The cocktail, created by Piero Rodriguez, is made with the new premium Pisco spirit Portón, Aji Amarillo, Mango Passion Fruit, Lime, and Pisco Sour Foam. Here she is: