Specialty Cocktail for the Fall
August 19, 2011 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Cocktail suggestions? If you are normally a manhattan/old fashioned drinker in the winter (and a gin and tonic/gimlet drinker in the summer), and you needed to pick a specialty cocktail to be served in your honor at an autumn cocktail hour, but it could not be a manhattan or old fashioned, what would you pick?

Blood and Sand has been sampled and rejected. Satan's Whiskers (both curled and straight) have been considered. Anything with a readily-available (even if special-order) liquor is on the table, but something with a very esoteric tincture or syrup is probably not going to work. Juices are okay as an ingredient, but cocktails, only, really, not mixed drinks or highballs.
posted by crush-onastick to Food & Drink (55 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Autumn? Vodka and lemonade (50/50, over ice). Simple but very autumnal and very delicious.
posted by jbickers at 10:51 AM on August 19, 2011

I am a big fan of manhattans and gin & tonics, and my go-to "fancy" cocktail for when we want to put effort into it is the Gold Rush.

Like the gin & tonic, it's got some sweetness but not it's not overly sweet like too many fancy martini-like cocktails can be. The ginger pairs so very well with the bourbon and it's just perfectly balanced but also complex. Highly recommended.
posted by iminurmefi at 10:52 AM on August 19, 2011

If you like rye and your old fashioneds strong and not too sweet, try with a sazerac.
posted by peachfuzz at 10:53 AM on August 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

If I could do an old fashioned, I'd do a mint julep. A proper southern-type, too, which is pretty much just an excuse to drink straight iced bourbon with some mint in your nose.
posted by introp at 10:54 AM on August 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

Go with a corpse reviver #2- my 3rd favorite drink after manhattans and G & Ts
posted by TheBones at 10:54 AM on August 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Vodka will not fly. There won't even be vodka behind the bar.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:54 AM on August 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

How about the venerable Sidecar? 2 parts Cognac, 1 part Cointreau or triple sec, 1 part fresh lemon juice. Shake over ice and serve up. I'm a whiskey man myself—Manhattans and Old Fashioneds are my bread and butter—but I love, love me a Sidecar.

The Vieux Carré is also great, but maybe too fiddly for you: 1 part rye whiskey, 1 part Cognac, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 tsp Benedictine DOM, two dashes each Angostura and Peychaud's bitters. Shake over ice and serve up.

Another New Orleans cocktail to consider: the Sazerac. Essentially rye, bitters, and simple syrup in a glass with an absinthe rinse.
posted by The Michael The at 10:55 AM on August 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think something I recently invented (but don't have a name for) may fit the bill:

peach bitters
lemon peel twist
peach bitters (which has peach and bitter almond extracts)

It's complex and floral without being at all sweet.
posted by Specklet at 10:56 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Uh, not sure how I got peach bitters in there twice.
posted by Specklet at 10:56 AM on August 19, 2011

Seconding the Sidecar. Also look into a French 75, made with bitters, sugar cube, lemon juice, champagne and cognac.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:58 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you have time to prep the bourbon before hand, I'd try a lovely peach infused bourbon martini. I'd call it a manhattan, but you said no. Let the bourbon sit with lots of peaches a little cinammon and vanilla in the fridge for a week, add ice, shake, strain, beautiful. Drop in a teeny bit of milk or half and half for a different, but lovely mouthfeel.

You can do this without the infusion by just just throwing in a little bit of peach liquour with the bourbon, then adding a hair of whatever spice feels like fall to you.
posted by stormygrey at 10:59 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Something with rye and apple cider? Lots of tasty fall combinations there!
posted by ldthomps at 10:59 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

This drink was served to me at Bad Decisions in Baltimore when I asked for a "drink that tasted like fall" - Gin, ginger beer, drambuie, bitters. Not sure about the proportions but at home I just throw stuff into a glass and it always turns out fantastic.
posted by troika at 11:05 AM on August 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

I am exactly that kind of drinker, and I would would be tempted by something with apple brandy, like the Stone Fence or the Jersey Lightening, from this list of apple brandy cocktails (note: theoretical recommendation - I have not tried either cocktail, but now I plan to).

I also think the Dark & Stormy has enough depth to be a pleasant early autumn drink, and would definitely not say no to a Sidecar or Vieux Carré.

Or on preview, what troika said. That sounds amazing.
posted by EvaDestruction at 11:07 AM on August 19, 2011

(it was called a "sexy punch in the face")
posted by troika at 11:08 AM on August 19, 2011

Considering your love of the Manhatten, Old Fashioned, G&T, and Gimlet you like things more dry, where the alcohol is the primary flavor, and simple.

Considering all that the above suggestion for a Sazerac is spot on. It is 11AM here and it is going to take all my strength to not go make one now.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:08 AM on August 19, 2011

Frisco is your drink.

2 oz Bourbon (or Rye!)
1/2 oz Benedictine

Shake with ice, strain and serve with lemon twist.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:09 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

A Jack Rose sounds like it might fit the bill, too.
posted by troika at 11:12 AM on August 19, 2011

This might sound crazy, but what about a Negroni?
posted by thisjax at 11:15 AM on August 19, 2011 [6 favorites]

Not a "cocktail" exactly, but one of my fall standards is the Stone Fence.
posted by brentajones at 11:16 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

A Stone Fence? Colonial era, cider and rum.
posted by catlet at 11:17 AM on August 19, 2011

Definitely a Negroni.
posted by Wet Spot at 11:21 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

The sazerac sounds like a good idea, given your preferences.

Another possibility: Remember the Maine. Quite like a Manhattan but with some interesting additions:

2 oz. rye
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
1 t. Cherry Heering
1/2 t. absinthe

Also, is it just a classic old fashioned that's been ruled out? Would a variation be okay? Because if you replace the sugar with maple syrup and use a bacon-infused bourbon, you've got yourself one tasty (and very autumnal) drink.
posted by Hypocrite_Lecteur at 11:22 AM on August 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

Oh, or another one, also along similar lines to a Manhattan and great for fall:

Star Cocktail

1 oz. applejack (or other good apple brandy)
1 oz. sweet vermouth
3 dashes bitters (I like Fee's whiskey barrel aged for this)
2 dashes simple syrup

Stir with ice and strain.
posted by Hypocrite_Lecteur at 11:26 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's a really good previously on this.
posted by holgate at 11:26 AM on August 19, 2011

(And I am also a whisk[e]y season / gin season drinker, but the autumn is for calvados, crème de mûre, sloe gin and other evocations of mists and mellow fruitfulness.)
posted by holgate at 11:32 AM on August 19, 2011

The Negroni and Corpse Reviver #2 are both classic cocktails that will work with your adult palate. Between the two, I think the Corpse Reviver is a little more accessible to folks who prefer sweet/sour to bitter though. If a hot cocktail is workable, I'd also consider a rum-flavored hot apple cider, garnished with apple wheel and cinnamon stick. It should be easy to produce by volume before hand and therefore quick to serve.

If you don't mind sweet, also try a Black Friar:

2 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. Vodka
1 oz. scotch whisky (Johnnie Walker Black is my preferred for this drink)

Shake vigorously with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso bean.
posted by Hylas at 11:38 AM on August 19, 2011

A Toronto? Fenet and rye, some simple syrup and a couple dashes orange bitters? Dress with an orange peel. So tasty.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:40 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Tom Collins?
Whiskey Sour?
Rusty Nail?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:40 AM on August 19, 2011

Rob Roy!
posted by scody at 11:42 AM on August 19, 2011

Oh wow, the mention above of ginger beer made my head spin. I haven't had one in ages but we used to love these when the weather started getting a little sharp:
* ginger beer: spicy or meld, depending on the drinker's taste, but I think the spicy ones are best with the weather. Have both at the bar. I've never liked using the Mexican-style ginger beers (Goya, etc.) for these and instead much prefer the Carolina-style (Blenheims is the absolute best).
* a good biting Kentucky bourbon; from Evan Williams to Woodford, your options are varied and delightful. Just stay away from the subtle ones (Blanton's, etc.); they're great for drinking straight but will get buried under the ginger beer. This is a great opportunity for bourbons like Elijah Craig which have great flavor but I typically find too sharp for straight consumption.
Serve over a little ice. Add a little curl of lemon at the edge of the glass if that's your thing.
posted by introp at 11:47 AM on August 19, 2011

This post is killing me. I can't wait until autumn truly arrives, when there's a dry chill in the air and I can come in from the cold and relax with a dram of Scotch, neat, warming me as I watch the wind blow the leaves from the trees. Evocation is such a powerful thing.
posted by The Michael The at 11:58 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Metafilter: making me drink at work on Fridays... for a different reason each Friday.
posted by introp at 12:00 PM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Whisky sour is such a great suggestion. Here's an excellent set of recipes for the basic and some lovely variations.

Signed, a fellow Manhattan/Old Fashioned fan.
posted by bearwife at 12:02 PM on August 19, 2011

Response by poster: Manhattan/Old Fashioned is out because both are on the menu in honor of someone else. Variations are probably not enough variety for the purpose, either, unfortunately, or the Rob Roy would be a first choice. Infused alcohols which can't be purchased probably can't be served, as the bartending is provided by the venue.

So far, this is a great list and I've mixed up the first round of sazeracs for sampling.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:03 PM on August 19, 2011

Negroni, for sure.
posted by brand-gnu at 12:22 PM on August 19, 2011

Seconding Thorzad, a rusty nail is the first thing I thought of.

P.S. your cocktail regulations are very complicated.
posted by nanojath at 12:39 PM on August 19, 2011

What about a Trinidad Sour? The first time I had one I said, "Hey, this tastes like fall in a glass!"
posted by *s at 12:41 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Many people already mentioned many of my favorites (sazerac, corpse reviver #2, Trinidad Sour), but the Aviation is another favorite. Lot's of variation on this drink for amounts, but I've been liking 2oz gin, 1/4oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, 1/4oz Creme de Violette, 1/2oz fresh lemon juice. Between the Sheets is another good one. I like to use gin instead of rum.
posted by toddst at 12:55 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you are normally a manhattan/old fashioned drinker in the winter (and a gin and tonic/gimlet drinker in the summer)...

This is me. Absolutely me. I came to recommend the Corpse Reviver #2, but it's already been mentioned. The Sazerac is another good choice but maybe too close to the other whiskey drinks in there, and depending on the season it may be too warm for the drink.
posted by gauche at 12:59 PM on August 19, 2011

I'll second (third?) the Trinidad Sour. It is so unlike almost every other drink, it's bound to elicit interesting reactions. But your bartenders might hate you for making them shake out an entire ounce of Angostura through the low-flow spout.

Have you considered a crusta? It's not technically a cocktail, but still spirit-forward and refreshing for Autumn. I use this recipe:

Rye crusta
1.5 oz Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond rye
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.5 oz Cointreau
2 tsp Luxardo
Shake with ice and strain into sugar-rimmed coupe glass.
posted by enoent at 1:40 PM on August 19, 2011

I would agree with the sazerac recommendation, but I have had them made badly more often than made well. If you haven't had one before, there is a risk of getting one made with too much absinthe (or pernod, or whatever) and thinking it's just a very brash drink, when it isn't. Unless your bartender has had a proper sazerac and knows what it is supposed to taste like, be careful.

Here's a great savory cocktail that I have never had a bartender mess up: the McQueen. Half good bourbon, half B&B, a dash of bitters, and an orange wedge, on the rocks.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:58 PM on August 19, 2011

thisjax: This might sound crazy, but what about a Negroni?

Wet Spot: Definitely a Negroni.

brand-gnu: Negroni, for sure.

Try a Boulevardier, basically a Negroni with whiskey in place of gin. Made with good rye and Carpano, I think it's the perfect fall cocktail.
posted by ecmendenhall at 2:05 PM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

The Magnificent Bastard Cocktail is perfect for this app, and very tasty, to boot.
posted by cameradv at 2:14 PM on August 19, 2011

Another vote for a Negroni. But in my book, you can do no wrong with Campari.
posted by rocketman at 2:36 PM on August 19, 2011

Rob Roy's come in Dry, Perfect, and Sweet (normal) varieties. A Dry Rob Roy, with a splash of soda and a twist of lime is a great summer drink, and neither looks or tastes anything like a manhattan/old fashioned.

But if you've ruled out Rob Roy's in all versions for whatever reasons, how about To Hell With Swords and Garter?
posted by paulsc at 3:00 PM on August 19, 2011

Blueberry tea...? I like manhattans and G&Ts a lot and am very fond of blueberry tea; the tea cuts the sweetness of the liqueur...

"Ingredients are typically
1 oz. Grand Marnier liqueur
1 oz. Amaretto liqueur
Hot Orange pekoe tea to taste."

Very nice in the dying days of patio season, when you're out there with a coat on. You can also do something nice with blackcurrant tea warming up [brown booze of choice] + a dash of Ribena.
posted by kmennie at 7:54 PM on August 19, 2011

Oh, to have such problems.

- Sazerac is a great bet if you can find one that you like.
- Negroni is solid but amateurs won't find it palatable (not sure if that's a problem where you come from).

If you've got a real ace behind the bar, howabout a Sloe Gin Fizz? Egg whites required, of course.
posted by outlaw of averages at 11:29 PM on August 19, 2011

Negroni is solid but amateurs won't find it palatable (not sure if that's a problem where you come from).

A way to avoid the potential "WTF is this Campari nastiness that I'm drinking" reaction is to do a Negroni (or Boulevardier maybe -- looks interesting, ecmendenhall) with the sweeter, less intense Aperol instead.
posted by thisjax at 2:13 AM on August 20, 2011

Maybe too wintery, but I thought I loved Manhattans best then had a Bobby Burns and I like them even more. Fanciulis and Americanos are also rad. Vieux Carres too.
posted by ifjuly at 7:43 AM on August 20, 2011

Ginger Drams are good too. And this restaurant nearby does a sort of Pimm's Cup that is AWESOME in the fall--Hendrick's gin, Pimm's, strong ginger ale, and decent coconut rum on the rocks garnished with cuke. Don't be put off by the coconut rum; I hate the stuff normally but it is a great drink. You could do a French 75 or any of the kir petillant/violette royalle/st. germain 77/cardinal/champagne cocktail/etc. things too. Or a queen elizabeth or white lady or british (pimm's) lady. or a monkey gland. pendennis, aviation.
posted by ifjuly at 7:52 AM on August 20, 2011

Response by poster: For those following along, we have now tried:

the Life Sentence (2 oz Rye; 1⁄2 oz Elderflower liqueur, St. Germain; 1⁄2 oz Bénédictine; 1⁄2 oz Lemon juice; 4 ds Rhubarb bitters; 1 ds Angostura bitters) and thought the lemon juice was too dominant

the Black Cherry Blossom (1 1/4 oz Rye; 3/4 oz Kirsch; 1/4 oz Crème de cacao; Dash of Angostura bitters; 2 Brandied cherries, garnish) which had a lovely flavor

the Smokey martini (first 2 oz gin, 1oz dry vermouth; 1/4 oz Laphroaig; then 2 oz gin, 1 oz dry & sweet vermouth, 1/4 oz Laphroaig), which is amazing and the front runner.

Next up are Corpse Reviver #2 (miracle cocktail); the probably Gold Rush; and maybe a Vieux Carre.

Other suggestions?
posted by crush-onastick at 3:57 PM on August 20, 2011

Cablegram. Whiskey or Rye. Sugar, lemon juice, ginger ale.

posted by notyou at 5:27 PM on August 20, 2011

just a tip: corpse reviver 2s are awesome for sure (though they always feel like spring to me), but they definitely reward precise measurement. really measure your stuff/ratios.
posted by ifjuly at 5:48 PM on August 20, 2011

Response by poster: We are now considering the bittersweet autumn: 1½ oz bourbon; ¾ oz sweet vermouth; ¾ oz Campari; 2 dashes Chocolate Bitters; whiskey cherry garnish.

I think it might be too manhattan-y, but it's quite tasty.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:53 PM on October 8, 2011

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