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Our Favorite New Fall Cocktails

20130618-alder-rye-cocktailbestdrinkOkay, so summer is a season better known for its cocktails (the likes of mojitos and daiquiris), but the flavors of fall lend themselves equally well to standout libations, like cinnamon-scented Negronis, maple syrup sweetened Sazeracs, or Brandy infused with fragrant pears or apples.

That’s why we’re scouting out autumn’s most exciting cocktails at restaurants and bars all over New York – from the smoky “Dr. Dave’s Scrip Pad” at Alder in the East Village to the fruity “Apples Anonymous” at Gwynnett St. in Brooklyn. There’s plenty of great drinking to do well into winter, so we suggest you get started…

Perla

Perla
234 West 4th St
West Village,New York 10012
(212) 933-1824

Gabe Stulman’s rustic Italian eatery is perfectly suited to fall… try chef Toscano’s special Quail with Spaghetti Squash or Veal Head for Three with Ribollita, an offal Tuscan bread soup.  And the bar menu encapsulates the season just as well, with ten new and utterly autumnal cocktails. Highlights include the “Tomahawk Old Fashioned,” a combination of Star Anise Rye Whiskey, Walnut Liqueur and Cedar Smoke, and the “Tombstone Sunday Nights” with Cinnamon-infused Bourbon, Chile Soy Maple Syrup and (get this), Housemade Pepperoni Bitters.  There’s even an unusual take on the “Bloody Mary” during brunch, made with Black Pepper Slovenian Vodka, Apple Cider and Horseradish.

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Salvation Taco

Salvation Taco
145 E 39th Street
Midtown East,New York 10016
(212) 865-5800

Tacos and margaritas are quintessential summertime staples, but that’s no reason to abandon Mexican fare once the weather cools.  Visit April Bloomfield & Ken Friedman’s chic taqueria in the Pod 39 Hotel for satisfactorily hearty dishes, like Kimchee and Pork Belly Pozole, spicy Chorizo Handpies and Tamales with Braised Beef Cheek.  Sure, you can still find frosty margaritas, but we’d just as soon embrace the chill by ordering the bracing “Astral Plane,” with Astral Blanco, bitter Cynar and Sesame Chile Oil, or the “Weathervane,” a savory blend of Rye Whiskey, woodsy Rosemary, Campari and Ginger.

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Alder

Alder
157 2nd Avenue
East Village,New York 10003
(212) 539-1900

With dishes like Clam Chowder topped with dehydrated Oyster Crackers, and French Onion Soup Rings filled with Gravy and Gruyere, you can bet that Alder doesn’t offer the same old same old when it comes to cocktails.  Take the “Flight of the Concords,” a gin drink muddled with that seasonal specialty, Concord Grapes, and the popular “Dr. Dave’s Scrip Pad,” made with Old Overholt Rye, Ramazzotti Amaro, Yuzu Juice and house-smoked Maple Syrup.  And since you can order them as half-pours, we highly recommend just trying both.

Minetta Tavern

Minetta Tavern
113 MacDougal Street
West Village,New York 10012
(212) 475-3850

The signature burger reliably draws raves at Keith McNally’s ever-popular Minetta Tavern, but it’s not the only thing on the menu worth note.  Cooler weather calls for hearty French classics like Pied de Porc Pané — crisp Berkshire Pig’s Trotter with Dijon Mustard, Lentils, and Herb Salad — which pairs beautifully with the elegant “Widow Douglass,” a Bourbon-based cocktail with Laird’s Applejack, Honey Syrup, fresh Citrus, and a housemade Huckleberry Compote.

Whiskey Soda Lounge

Whiskey Soda Lounge
115 Columbia Street
Brooklyn,New York 11201
(718) 797-4120

Drinking Vinegars aren’t exactly a dime a dozen in Manhattan, and a lengthy roster of Som Drinking Vinegars is an even rarer find, one that’s worth traveling to Andy Ricker’s recently opened outpost of Whiskey Soda Lounge in Brooklyn.  Right about now, Ricker’s currently making delicious use of the fall-friendly Apple Som, which you’ll find in a crisp “Apple Gin Rickey” with Lemon and Soda, or the full-bodied “Stone Fence” with Applejack, Draft Cider and Bitters.  And be sure to order a few unusual (but tasty) bar snacks alongside, like Dried Anchovies with Sriracha, Deep-fried Eggs with Tamarind, and Sai Muu Thawt,  a crispy pile of 5 Spice-Stewed Pork Chitlins.

Black Tree

Black Tree
131 Orchard Street
Lower East Side,New York 10002
(212) 533-4684

This produce-focused sandwich shop offers a brilliant excuse for day drinking – an artfully curated cocktail list that’s every bit as enticing as the lunch menu.  Our favorites include the “Fig,” made with Fig-infused Vodka, Heirloom Apples, Cider and Fall Spices, the “Maple,” which combines Black Dirt Apple Brandy, Smoked Maple, Cherry Tree Bitters and Grappa, and the “Pumpkin,” a mix of Rough Rider Triple Barrel Rye, Smoked Maple Syrup and Greenpoint Harbor Leaf Pile Ale.  And since you’ll never make it back to the office if you don’t eat something first, try one of the “Farm-to-Bread” creations, like the Pumpkin Blossom, a unique sandwich of pan-fried Pumpkin Blossoms, Heirloom Tomatoes, Di Palo Mozzarella and Spicy Aioli.

Gwynnett St

Gwynnett St
312 Graham Avenue
Brooklyn,New York 11211
(347) 889-7002

You’ll still find Justin Hilbert’s infamous Whiskey Bread on Gwynnett St.’s menu, but new chef Owen Clark is really coming into his own in the kitchen.  We love the Cobia, a moist, snowy-white saltwater fish plated with Cauliflower, Grapes and Sea Lettuce, and the tender Veal Sweetbreads with Parsley Root, Pickled Ramps and Capers.  A variety of seasonal cocktails are also interesting without being overly tricky, including the “Apples Anonymous” (Laird’s Apple Brandy, Cardamaro, Vanilla and Doc’s Cider), and the appropriately named “The Second Year,” with Old Overholt Rye, Punt e Mes, Cynar, Honey and an Orange Twist.

Allswell

Allswell
124 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn,New York 11211
(347) 799-2743

Nate Smith, an April Bloomfield protégé, mirrors his mentor’s affinity for sophisticated (and often offal-heavy) comfort foods.  Who knew Beef Heart Crostini, Tongue with Dill and Caper Crème Fraiche, or Duck Fat-Fried Pigs Ears could be so delicious?  The cocktails at Allswell have equally challenging flavor profiles, but are guaranteed to warm you up from the inside out, like the “Smoke-Oh” with Fernet Branca, Vida Mezcal, Ginger and Lime, and the “Merrywell,” a fiery concoction of Rye, Averna, Dolin Dry, Peychauds, and Allspice Dram.

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