Thanksgiving marks prime time for fall cocktail menus. They are brimming with inventive drinks to tickle your fancy. With unexpected touches and a nod to the season, these libations will get you ready to embrace the chill. Here are some of our favorite new fall cocktails that will have you jettisoning your usual for the unusual.
Smoke & Spice at Spoke & Steele, Indianapolis, Indiana
At Spoke & Steele, beverage director Tyler Burns offers up Smoke & Spice with rye, reposado tequila, amaretto, spiced simple syrup, apple bitters, alpine herb bitters, and cayenne. What makes the cocktail so unique is the way it’s served and the interactive way in which you drink it. Tyler sets a cedar plank out on the bar and ignites the wood with a blowtorch. After the wood has blackened and the cedar’s char begins to scent the air, he traps the smoke in coupe glass. The cocktail is served in a beaker next to the glass on the plank allowing the guest to turn over the smoke-filled glass and fill it with the cocktail. Make a reservation at Spoke & Steele.
The Original Sin at Market Restaurant + Bar, Del Mar, California
Nothing says autumn quite like apples, which, of course, are the basis for The Original Sin. Tempting with sweet and savory notes, the drink combines muddled Granny Smith apples with spicy chili-infused vodka and tarragon along with fresh lime. Make a reservation at Market Restaurant + Bar.
Sage Wisdom at Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Chicago, Illinois
At one of Chicago’s oldest and most quintessential steakhouses, you’ll find Sage Wisdom. This cocktail is comprised of sweet potato and pumpkin puree, Old Forrester bourbon, Amaro Nonino, cardamom bitters, and demerara syrup, with a silver sage garnish. It was created by restaurant manager Trevor Bierwirth and is sure to get you primed for Thanksgiving. Make a reservation at Lawry’s The Prime Rib.
Camote at La Mar, San Francisco, California
At the Peruvian restaurant La Mar, the sweetness of sweet potatoes is tempered not just with spice but Latin flair in the way of tropical pineapple, lime, and cilantro. The cocktail called Camote, which means sweet potato in Spanish, has sweet potato-infused ice, sweet potato vodka, allspice Dram, pineapple, lime, and cilantro. Make a reservation at La Mar.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly at Grant Grill, San Diego, California
Cory Alberto has created the Magnificent 7 cocktail menu for fall, inspired by his favorite old Westerns. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is perhaps the most masculine of the lot, concocted with dry-aged, ribeye-fat-washed rye, cyan, and sweet vermouth and topped with cigar foam. Make a reservation at Grant Grill.
Smoking Manhattan at Fire-The Art Hotel of Denver, Denver, Colorado
At Fire, located in Denver’s Museum District, the Smoking Manhattan might bring to mind the burning leaves emblematic of the season. Invented by head mixologist Kyle Wollenhaupt, it features Buffalo Trace bourbon, Carpano Antica vermouth, and orange bitters served with a wisp of smoke. Make a reservation at Fire-The Art Hotel of Denver.
The Satori at Roka Akor, San Francisco, California
The perfect after-dinner drink for fall, the Satori leads with bittersweet nuances of coffee and chocolate and finishing with a pleasant and balanced floral component. The name, which means “sudden enlightenment,” is coffee-Infused Kikori Japanese rice whisky with housemade sherry honey syrup, creme de cacao, chocolate, and lavender bitters. Make a reservation at Roka Akor.
The Loving Cup at South Water Kitchen, Chicago, Illinois
Bartender Dan Rook creates a hot toddy-style drink called the Loving Cup with Smith & Cross rum, cold brew coffee, Cynar 70, orange, and cloves — topped off with whipped cream and cocoa. The surprise? An addition of birch bark syrup, which is similar to maple syrup but far less common. Make a reservation at South Water Kitchen.
Karl at Michael Mina, San Francisco, California
Locals know Karl the fog; he’s got over 200,000 followers on Instagram and about 170,000 on Twitter. In honor of the foggiest season of them all, he’s also now got a drink. Karl is Beluga Gold Line vodka, Junmai sake, and St. Germain. Make a reservation at Michael Mina.
Amy Sherman is a San Francisco-based writer, editor, blogger, and cookbook author. She is the publisher of the food blog Cooking with Amy. She currently contributes to numerous online publications including Food Network, Fodor’s and Refinery 29 and never says no to a warm donut. Follow her @cookingwithamy.
Photo credit: Audra Sternberg (Smoke& Spice); Danielle Lirette (Fire).