Though we crave something more contemplative and warming in our glasses, but we’re not quite ready for Hot Toddies. Hotels call this in-between time shoulder season. In the bar world, cocktail menus turn to Cognacs and Rye, and flavors of the season: apple, fig, pear, fig, and baking spices.
We asked some of our favorite mixologists what’s on their menus—and in their glasses—this fall. Here’s what they shared—and not a pumpkin spice in the bunch.
1. The FigureJesse Carr of Balise, Justine, and La Petite Grocery in New Orleans
Ingredients.25 Henri Bardouin Pastis
.25 Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur
1.25 Cognac Park VS
.25 oz Honey
.75 oz Orange
.25 oz Lemon
1 tbsp Fig Jam
Add ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker, shake, then strain over ice into rocks glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
2. It’s A Bee’s KneesLauren Paylor of Dos Mamis in Washington, DC
Ingredients1.5 oz Barr Hill Gin
5 oz House-made tepache (a fermented pineapple liquor from Mexico. Dos Mamis’s sustainable version utilizes both the rinds and the pulp, to which they add brown sugar, raw honey, cinnamon, and green cardamom.)
Add ingredients to ice-filled shaker. Shake until chilled and strain into a Highball glass. Garnish with lemon wedge.
3. Thoreau it BackKimberly Patton-Bragg of Justine in New Orleans
2 oz Calvados
.5 oz Mulled Wine Syrup*
.75 oz lemon Ginger Beer (top)
Shake first three ingredients and strain into a Collins glass. Add ice and top with ginger Beer; stir gently. Garnish with clove spiked lemon peel.
*Mulled Wine Syrup: simmer a claret with mulling spices to half, add 1/4 demerara and 3/4 regular sugar mix.
4. Tennessee TrickOscar Javier Sinisterro of Hello Stranger Bar in Oakland
Ingredients1.5 oz Milk-Washed and Spiced Jack Daniels
1 oz Badel Williams Pear Brandy
Sparkling apple spice cider
Dehydrated lime and crushed ice garnish
Build in a Collins glass full of ice. Top with house-made sparkling apple spice cider (add spiced cider to a keg and force carbonate with CO2). Garnish with a dehydrated lime on a crown of crushed ice.
*Milk-Washed and Spiced Jack Daniels: infuse three chai tea bags into one 750ml bottle of Jack Daniels for about 30 minutes. Discard teabags. Add 250 ml whole milk. Let rest for 20 minutes. Add a teaspoon of citric acid, very gently mix the liquid for a couple of minutes to let the milk curdle. Let rest an additional 30 minutes. Filter out using a coffee filter.
5. Fan-Figgin-TasticColleen Hughes of Haberdish in Charlotte, North Carolina
Ingredients2 oz El Tesoro Single Barrel Reposado
.5 oz Cardamaro
.75 oz Fig syrup*
2 dashes Angostura and cardamom bitters
*Fig syrup: Melt 1 cup white sugar, .75 brown sugar, and .25 real maple syrup in 1.5 cups hot water. Add 2 cups fresh figs, chopped, 1 Ceylon cinnamon stick, 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger, and a pinch of salt.
Combine ingredients in a sous vide bag and remove any air. Place in immersion circulating bath at 145° for 2 hours. Cool and strain.
6. The Roycroft CocktailGary Crunkleton of The Crunkleton in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Ingredients1 oz 100 proof Rye Whiskey
.5 oz Green Chartreuse
.5 oz Benedictine
.5 oz Cherry Heering
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Fresh ginger garnish
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with hard ice and shake hard and long enough to wake up the liquor. Strain into a cocktail coupe or favorite glass with no ice. This drink is served up. Garnish with a swath of fresh ginger that is smashed.
7. Powers That BeShaun Traxler of Vault in Fayetteville, Arkansas
Ingredients1.5oz Irish Whiskey
1.5oz Sweet Potato Juice*
.5oz Orgeat .25oz Lemon Juice
4 Dashes Cherrybark Vanilla Bitters
2 Dashes House Black Walnut Bitters
2 Dashes Salt Solution
Add all ingredients to shaker without ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Add ice and shake for an additional 7-10 seconds. Strain and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
*Sweet Potato Juice: Juice sweet potato. Add 2% by weight of lemon juice. Pasteurize on stove top by cooking at 190° for a couple of minutes. Cool and store cold. Will last 2 weeks.
8. Autumnal Old FashionedLynn House, National Brand Educator for Heaven Hill
Ingredients2 oz Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
.5 oz Rich apple syrup*
3 dashes Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, ice and stir until well-chilled. Fill a rocks glass with ice and strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with an apple slice and a lemon twist.
*Rich Apple Syrup: In a saucepan combine 1 cup fresh apple cider, 1 cup granulated cane sugar, 1 cinnamon stick and .5 teaspoons ground allspice. Allow mixture to come to a boil, stirring constantly. Once sugar dissolves, lower heat and simmer 10 minutes. Cool and store in a glass jar until ready for use.
9. Center StageJillian Vose of The Dead Rabbit, New York City
Ingredients1.5 oz Bertoux Brandy
.5 oz Rhum JM VSOP Agricole
.5 oz Cardamaro
.25 oz Dried Apricot Syrup
2 Dashes Bittered Sling Clingstone Peach Bitters
1 Dash Walnut infused Angostura Bitters
Stir, serve in an Old Fashioned glass, garnished with an orange twist.
*Dried Apricot Syrup: Fill stainless steel pot with 1000 ml water and add 200g dried, chopped, apricots, Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until the liquid has reduced by 1/4 (750 ml). Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth and return strained liquid to the pot. Add 750 g sugar and heat at 158°, stirring frequently, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Bottle, label and store in refrigerator.
*Walnut Angostura Bitters: Soak 8 oz crushed walnuts in 500 ml Angostura bitters overnight and strain through coffee filter.
10. StreganonnaDavio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in New York City
Ingredients1.5 oz Gunpowder Irish gin
.75 oz St-Germain
.5 oz beet Splash lemon
6 dashes celery bitters
Add ingredients into shaker along with sprigs of thyme. Muddle thyme, then add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into coup. Garnish with thyme.