Forget last season’s frozen margaritas and blended piña coladas in favor of this fall’s cocktails made with strong spices and warm flavor notes. Get toasty with these autumn-inspired cocktails served at New York City bars and restaurants. By Sarah Shaker.
Spiced Red Apple Martini, BLT Steak
Apple Infused Vodka is the star of the Spiced Red Apple Martini at BLT Steak this season. Cinnamon Simple Syrup, made from boiled water, cinnamon sticks and sugar is shaken with the house-made Apple Infused Vodka and poured into a martini glass. The drink is finished with thin apple wedges for both flavor and design. Sip alongside a specialty steak or freshly prepared seafood dish.
Maple Leaf, Landmarc
Available this fall at both Landmarc’s Time Warner Center and TriBeCa locations, the Maple Leaf Cocktail speaks to the seasonal changes visible around the city from falling leaves in Central Park to darker evenings downtown. Michter’s rye, Doc’s maple syrup, bitters and pasteurized egg whites create a smooth autumn flavor to enjoy alongside Landmarc classics like Braised Rabbit Cavatelli. Bulleit O’Lanter is another seasonal cocktail not to miss featuring Bulleit bourbon, Doc’s maple pumpkin syrup, lime and bitters.
The Gold Rush, The Lambs Club
Golden fallen leaves remind us of the fall, so cocktails in that warm hue are perfect to sip this season. Bourbon, lemon juice and honey create a simple, yet delicious cocktail to enjoy at The Lambs Club in the form of The Gold Rush. Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s menu features hearty plates like Roasted Chicken For Two to dine on with this comforting seasonal drink.
Prince Street Cider, Delicatessen
There’s nothing better than comfort food as the city gets colder and we all know Delicatessen is a master at this warm and cozy cuisine. Order their Prince Street Cider for a taste of the season with spiced rum, ginger liqueur shaken with apple cider, crushed lemon and cinnamon, served on the rocks. Don’t leave without ordering something from their Mac Bar, like the decadent Mac Lobsta’ with tender chunks of fresh lobster, cognac, tarragon and mascarpone.
Apple & Spice, Thistle Hill Tavern
Chef Dale Talde and partners, David Massoni and John Bush, the successful trio known for TALDE and Pork Slope, also bring Brooklyn neighbors Thistle Hill Tavern, a casual restaurant and bar featuring seasonal American tavern fare and handcrafted cocktails. The Apple & Spice cocktail was created for fall with a simple syrup mixture made from warm spices and sugar, Brooklyn Vodka, Lairds Apple Jack and fresh pressed apple cider. The ingredients are muddled together and served in a chilled martini glass with grated cinnamon and a fresh apple slice.
Hidden Branches, Black Tree
Black Tree, a seasonal and locally sourced eatery and bar on the Lower East Side is serving a pumpkin beer cocktail this fall. For a slice of pumpkin pie in a class, this drink is made with Long Island’s Rough Rider Whiskey, Smoked Maple and topped with Green Port Harbor Leaf Pile Ale, an autumn beer with notes of ginger, cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg, and is finished with a brown sugar rim. Other seasonal cocktails include Harvest Moon, Black Tree’s take on a Sazerac and Autumnal Casktail with Van Brunt White Whiskey (Brooklyn), Atsby Armadillo Cake Vermouth (Red Hook), Atsby Amberthorne Vermouth and Housemade Black Bitters and garnished with candy ginger.
Kings Old Fashioned, Center Bar
Kings Old Fashioned at Center Bar on the Upper West Side brings together nutty flavors from bourbon and walnut syrup, with a pop of fresh citrus from a lemon and orange twist. The Armenian walnut used in this cocktail is cured in simple syrup, giving it a sweet taste and the fall flavor you’ll want when enjoying unobstructed views of color-changing trees in Central Park from the comfort of your table.
Leaves of Grass, Greenwich Project
Who doesn’t crave apple cider during the fall? This year, try a spiked version at Greenwich Project. Vodka, apple cider, St. Germain and lemon combine for this bright citrus cocktail for cider lovers. They will also be offering corn in an inventive way to take advantage of the Farmer’s market’s bounty this season as Cocktail Director John McCarthy has introduced brand-new Oxaqueño cocktail, made with Mezcal, Valley View Farms Corn, Cinnamon Agave “Fire Water” and Chocolate bitters. Pairing fresh pressed corn juice with Mezcal and the intriguing addition of Chocolate Bitters, the corn’s sweetness is a nice counterpart to the smooth heat of the house-made “Fire Water” bitters. Topping it all off with a tarragon sprig, this beverage is perfect for autumn imbibing.
New York Harvest, Lantern’s Keep
During this bountiful season make sure to try the New York Harvest cocktail with bourbon, Applejack, lemon and egg white, finished with a splash of wine then shaken and served on the rocks at Lantern’s Keep in Midtown. This intimate cocktail bar is neatly tucked away in the Iroquois Hotel, offering an almost secret gem to impress a date this fall with expertly crafted cocktails.
Sarah Shaker is the founder of the blog Bright Lights, My City.