November is time to give thanks to fall flavors — on your plate, and in your glass. From tart cranberries to delicately sweet pumpkin and pear, autumn produce makes for deliciously comforting cocktails.
There are plenty of cloying drinks out there that mask berries and squash with heavy cream and sugar, but yours doesn’t have to be a pie on ice. These seasonal cocktails are just the way I like them — a bit sweet (naturally), a little spiced and a more than a hint spiked:
Sage and Pear Martini
From iCi Restaurant in Fort Greene, Brooklyn
- In a shaker (or mortar), muddle 4 sage leaves, 1/4 of a pear, and 2 teaspoons of raw sugar (or give an extra toast to your health by replacing sugar with agave nectar).
- Add 2 oz of gin, 1 oz of sparkling water and ice (iCi uses Farmer’s Botanical Small Batch Organic Gin and Clear Moon sparkling water) and stir.
- Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a sage leaf.
Also from iCi Restaurant
- Muddle 1 teaspoon of fresh cranberries, 1/3 of a lime, 1 oz of cranberry simple syrup (see recipe below), and 2 oz of cachaca (Clean Plates recommends an organic cachaca like São).
- Pour in a rock glass over ice with the crushed fruit.
Cranberry Simple Syrup:
- Bring 1 part water and 1/4 part of cranberry juice to a boil.
- Add 1 part sugar and stir (again, we recommend replacing sugar with agave nectar).
- Once dissolved, remove from heat, bottle and store.
(For the thinner, stove-free version of simple syrup, just mix and shake.)
From Rouge Tomate in Manhattan’s Upper East Side
- Pour 2 oz clementine vodka (recipe below), 2 ½ oz pomegranate juice, 1 oz green apple juice, the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 oz agave nectar into a shaker.
- Shake, pour into a martini glass and garnish with an apple slice.
- Combine 750 ml vodka with 4 peeled, quartered clementines in a jar (we recommend using organic vodka).
- Seal well and store in a cool place, shaking gently every day for 3 to 4 days, or until the clementines flavor the vodka.
- Strain and store in a well-sealed container for up to several months.
The Pumpkin Flip
From Greenbar Collective, an organic, artisanal spirit producer
- Combine 2 oz gin (like TRU Organic Gin or Farmer’s Botanical Gin), 2 oz pumpkin puree (learn how to puree a pumpkin here or here), 1 organic egg and 1 oz maple syrup.
- Shake first without ice, then with ice.
- Double strain into a martini or coupe glass.
- Top with fresh grated nutmeg.
Can’t find your shaker? iCi, Rouge Tomate and other seasonally-minded restaurants have plenty to sate your thirst. Right now, I’m loving Franny’s Concord Flip (concord grape purée, cocchi vermouth, nardini, aquavite, fresh lemon juice and an egg white) and Pure Food and Wine‘s natural sake libations, like the Master Cleanse Tini (lemon, maple syrup, a dash of cayenne pepper and sake).
What’s your favorite fall cocktail?
Pomegranate Martini image from Rouge Tomate.