4 New Fall Cocktail Menus to Check Out
Seasonal offerings include exotic spices, local coffee liqueur, house-made cider, and Icelandic gin
Prohibition's Hong Kong is for Lovers cocktail
In-season fruits and vegetables always make for great spring and summer cocktails, but there’s something about fall cocktails with their deeper, richer flavors. There’s been a lot of great new menus introduced over the last few weeks. To highlight four (check back next week for more), I asked bartenders from each spot to tell me their favorite drink on the new menu and what’s been a crowd favorite so far. I’ve also included the cocktail I’d pick to try.
Jesse Ross, Sycamore Den
Jesse’s favorite cocktail on the new menu: Forbidden Root by our newest bartender Shelby. She uses aquavit, fresh lemon, ginger, turmeric, and carrot juice, garnished with a bit of lemon and cilantro. The product is a surprisingly well-balanced, fresh, and relatively healthy concoction that looks and tastes amazing. The caraway in the aquavit really lends itself to the other flavors in the drink, where in some drinks it can take over. This, I think, is one of the coolest and smartest applications of aquavit I’ve tasted.
Crowd pleaser: Our best seller is the Up and Autumn, an Old Fashioned variation using rye whiskey, apple brandy, orange, and Angostura bitters and a house-made Dark Horse Coffee demerara liqueur. Old Fashioneds are always popular at our bar, but I think what people specifically like about this one is the synergy of another neighborhood favorite, Dark Horse. The coffee roaster is only one block away, and this is a kind of different blend of spirit than your typical bourbon Old Fashioned. I love it
My pick: Lady of the Wood (light rum, coconut milk, salted cashew, Ancho Reyes chili liqueur, lime, nutmeg)
Ryan Andrews, Prohibition
Ryan’s favorite cocktail on the new menu: My favorite is Jesse Didn’t Die (spiced orange tea-infused gin, Pimm’s, lemon juice, dry curaçao) because it was inspired by Jesse Ross (from Sycamore Den) being really hungover on our recent trip to Europe.
Crowd pleaser: By far the Sawadee (Kaffir lime leaf-infused gin, lime juice, Thai curry spice, coconut milk) — it blows everyone away.
My pick: Hong Kong is for Lovers (El Silencio mezcal, lime, dry curaçao, roasted chili pepper agave, and R&D Fire Bitters)
Jason O’Bryan, The Lion’s Share
Jason’s favorite cocktail on the new menu: Elbow Patches. It's house-made hot apple cider, with Irish whiskey, and some unsweetened whipped cream. This is my favorite type of drink, I think — one that we put a ton of time into the production of raw ingredients to coax the very best out of them, but then the cocktail itself is incredibly simple. The cider is a pain to make — juicing 15 pounds of three types of apples, mulling it in spices, keeping it warm, etc. But once it’s made, the drink itself has literally three ingredients. It couldn't be simpler, or tastier. I've been surprised by how popular it is.
Crowd pleaser: The Winter Boots, I think. People get a little gun-shy with sherry, but this build really delivers: Vanilla chai-infused Sipsmith gin, Manzanilla Sherry, lemon, and a touch of strawberry, and we mist-spray Angostura bitters on top and throw some mint on there. It's a winter drink in a summer city, which is really what we're all doing with these seasonal menus anyway.
My pick: Night Stick (bourbon, demerara rum, lemon, Amaro Nonino, cinnamon, pumpkin butter, Allspice)
Jeff Josenhans, Grant Grill
Jeff’s favorite cocktail on the new menu: The Blood Eagle. Despite the bold name and inclusion of duck-fat-washed vodka, this cocktail is beautifully balanced and surprisingly quite the crowd pleaser. Besides the technique of fat-washing spirits, this cocktail includes smaller brands such as local Domaine Santé and Scandinavian Geijer Glogg, as well as a garnishing technique involving infusing oil with cranberry extract.
Crowd pleaser: In all honesty, this is one of the best cocktail menus I have seen put together, and I think there are several home-runs here. But if I had to pick one that a cocktail drinker of any kind would enjoy, it would be the Kiss of Freya. It features exotic elements such as lingonberry and Swedish Punsch, but is complemented by the familiar elements of Icelandic gin and Domaine Chandon. It is approachable and festive, and is served in a fantastic vessel which draws the attention of others in the bar.
My pick: Seafaring Dragon Ship (Laphroaig 10-Year Single Malt Islay scotch, white birch and maple syrup, R&D Sarsaparilla bitters, pinch of sea salt)
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