As much as I love sunny days in L.A. I love this chill in the air. Perfect for cuddling and, oh, the delicious cocktails that showcase the best flavors of the season, flavors that comfort as well as evoke special memories from this time of year: pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dessert, apple cider for nights in front of the fire, milk for sleepless nights and even cigarettes when you just want to get out of your parents’ house on T Day. Here are some tasty fall cocktails from around town.
Back when “martinis” were all the rage, I used to LOVE pumpkin martinis. Now that I’ve gotten a bit pickier I went in search of well-crafted pumpkin cocktails that offer more than pumpkin schnapps.
City Tavern’s Headless Horseman: Pumpkin-infused Bulleit Rye, nutmeg, brown sugar, cinnamon barrel-aged for five weeks. This spirit-forward sipper is warm and spicy like a pumpkin pie but without that cloying sweetness.
Cana Rum Bar‘s Pumpkin Colada: Knob Creek 100 proof rye, lemon hart 151, pumpkin butter, coconut cream, organic pumpkin purée, lemon. Nothing celebrates L.A.’s warm autumns and winters like a pumpkin tiki drink. The coconut enhances the pumpkin’s sweetness beautifully.
Next Door Lounge‘s Sleepy Hollow: Rittenhouse Rye, pumpkin puree, lemon juice and clove infused simple syrup and egg white.
We may not have a lot of apple orchards down here in L.A. but the scent of apples still signals autumn for a lot of us.
The Eveleigh‘s American Trilogy: High West Bourye, 12 yr old Apple Jack, housemade apple spiced gomme syrup
Sadie‘s Spiked Cider: Fresh pressed apple juice, fall spiced syrup, Martell Cognac, and cinnamon. Bartender Giovanni Martinez took a classic winter warmer and made it even better.
320 Main‘s Detroiter: This beer cocktail by bartender Jason Schiffer was inspired by home. “Being a Michigander, I miss having a real fall with the sweet smell of apples and the smokey burning leaves in the air. Its flavors are inspired from the smells of fall in Michigan,” said Jason.
- 3/4 oz Bonded Apple Brandy
- 1 oz Cynar
- 3/4 oz Lemon
- 3/4 oz Honey Syrup
- 2 oz Stone IPA
Add all ingredients to the shaker and shake hard without ice to flatten the beer. Add ice and shake again for about 10 seconds. Strain over fresh ice in an Old Fashioned Glass and top with fresh IPA. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
I usually don’t do dairy but when it gets colder out there’s nothing more soothing than a rich, creamy cocktail.
Sotto‘s Bourbon Milk Punch: Eagle Rare Single Barrel bourbon, housemade “almond milk,” Cicociaro amaro, grated cinnamon and dark chocolate. A light but creamy Italian version of a favorite brunch drink.
Cole‘s White Russian: Karlsson’s vodka, Cafe Lolita, blended whipped cream. OK, this is one of the best White Russians ever. All the best parts of this old favorite — creamy, rich and potent — without that milky heaviness.
OK, so these aren’t really made with cigarettes but they were inspired by that vice. Forget smoking on that cold fall night and suck down one of these.
Corner Door‘s Grandma’s Pack of Cigarettes: rye, Punt e Mes, crème de cacao, coffee chili bitters. One of my favorites off Beau Du Bois’ menu. It’s like a spicy Manhattan.
The Stark Bar‘s Coffee & a Cigarette: El Dorado 12 yr rum, Cynar, Punt e Mes, espresso dust, smoked cinnamon. Even though it sorta looks like someone disposed of their ciggy in your cocktail, it’s still a delicious drink. A nice balance of bitter and sweet with the warm aroma of cinnamon. This is off bartender Paul Sanguinetti’s upcoming winter menu so it’s not available yet; maybe in a couple of weeks. But if you see him before then, ask him to do it up for you.