ROUNDING OUT FLAVORS
“We deﬁnitely gravitate to lighter ﬂavors insummer and spring and deeper, rounder andeven more comforting ﬂavors in the fall andwinter,” says Toby Maloney, head mixologistand co-owner of The Patterson House in Nashville, Tenn., and The Violet Hour inChicago.Even the types of bitters change; at hisbars, Maloney replaces light, citrusy bitterswith darker concoctions that employ more-intense spices, like his own apple-gingerbitters. Customers increasingly anticipatethese sorts of changes on beverage menus.“I think my clientele look forward to myputting out new drinks every season; it keeps itfresh and interesting,” says Bob Brunner,beverage director at Paragon, a restaurant andbar in Portland, Ore. In fall and winter,Brunner, who changes the Paragon menuquarterly, turns increasingly to bourbon, ryeand single-malt Scotch. He also uses applecider for drinks like the Blindsider, made withBuffalo Trace bourbon,Domaine de Cantonginger liqueur andfresh, hand-pressedcider from a regionalsupplier, garnishedwith a Braeburn applewedge.
Managing the seasonalmenu transitionrequires some ﬁne-tuning.“Fall is the hardestmenu to do” saysSepia’s Pearson. “Youwant to feature somewarming drinks, buton days that are hot,you still wantto offer something refreshing.”Like Brunner, Pearson turns to darkerspirits, adding to the menu seasonal drinksthat feature aged rums, blended Scotches witha little smoke, Calvados and other morerobust ﬂavors. He’s also open to working morewith vegetables; he recently pureed roastedbeets and mixed them with rye, white crèmede cacao, orange juice and an absinthe rinsefor a drink called the Absente Minded.Pearson changes out three drinks from hismenu every four weeks or so, making a hyper-seasonal statement. In late summer, he wasbusy turning crab apples into apple butter fora drink to be served in late September madewith aged Brazilian cachaça and aquavit.When summer ends and melons and otherjuicy fruits are no longer prominent barofferings, the seasonal change to fall fruit canseriously alter a menu, says Lynette Moreno, a New York bartender and consultant.“It’s great to have a pretty peach drink inthe summer, but once that fruit stops giving agreat yield of ﬂavor, you have to switch towhat’s coming in,” she notes.Moreno, who developed the drink programat the just-opened Rye House in Manhattan,says fall fruits pair well with brown spirits likeapplejack, dark rum and bourbon; the latterﬁts especially well into fall and winter menus,with its inherent honey, cinnamon and cloveﬂavors.Some bartenders extend the combinationby infusing apple or pear into spirits, whileothers start using high-quality apple and pearbrandies and eau de vie.
KEEPING PACE WITH FALL MENUS
An autumnal harvest theme is strong even inregions without orchards; in Las Vegas,Armando Rosario, master mixologist fornational beverage distributor Southern Wine& Spirits in Nevada, recently developedrestaurant drinks such as the Pear…fectMartini with Absolut Pears vodka, fresh limejuice and rock-candy syrup, garnished withsliced pears. His Pumpkin Pie Martinicombines Absolut Vanilla, GoldschlagerCinnamon Liqueur, Baileys Crème Carameland pumpkin puree, while Ginger Apple Pieblends Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, MoninGinger Syrup and apple and fresh lemonjuice.“Bars today need to be bringing in drinkswith fresh ingredients, especially when theyare connected to ﬁne-dining restaurants,” saysRosario. “There may still be many places inVegas where cheap drinks are what’s popular,but mixologists are following the lead of chefsand keeping their menus seasonal.”
Bartenders turn to darker spirits and add extras like tea, cider and late-harvestfruits to capture fallﬂavors, as in Sepia’s rye-based Highroad.
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