Summer may not seem like a distant memory just yet given that we saw 80 degree temperatures in the last week, but it finally seems like there is a chill in the air. There is no better time to embrace warm fall flavors such as apple, maple, vanilla, nutmeg, and more than with a fall cocktail. One thing you'll find missing from this fall flavor list - pumpkin spice. Can we all just say no to an all out pumpkin spice takeover, please? I almost had a meltdown when I saw “pumpkin spice dryer sheets." Seriously, people?
Here are 10 non-pumpkin spice ways to enjoy the best of the season via cocktails around the city.
Mariposa Traicionera at Espita
The mezcaleria’s new fall cocktails highlight autumnal flavors such as apple, allspice, and mulled wine, and are inspired by Telenovelas, the popular genre of serial dramas that are typically shorter than soap operas, many of which have become popular around the world! The names of the cocktails also come from popular telenovelas, films and songs. While the names are fascinating (and you should ask the bartender for the meanings behind each one), the drinks are equally interesting. I’m especially drawn to the Mariposa Traicionera – with mezcal, Cardamaro, damson plum, vanilla and Fernet Francisco.
Danger Grouse at The Bird
Apple cider is one of the best treats autumn has to offer. The combination of brown butter infused rye whiskey with an apple cider reduction, averna, brown sugar, sage, and lemon screams fall. Maybe an apple cider cocktail a day will also keep the doctor away? We wish...
Smoked Old Fashioned at Del Campo
For a twist on a classic, try Del Campo’s Smoked Cherry Old Fashioned. The cocktail of Bulleit bourbon, house-made cherry cordial and Peychaud's bitters is pre-bottled, and then served in a glass that is smoked tableside for a cool presentation. Added flavors of smoke and spice are derived from inverting the chilled glass over flaming Mexican cinnamon. Fun and festive!
The Spectator at Bourbon Steak
You know you’ll always get a good cocktail at this stylish spot inside the Four Seasons, and bartender Torrance Swain’s “The Spectator” is no exception. Typically fall flavors of pomegranate, cranberry and nutmeg are a strong pairing to rum in this seasonal cocktail. I can’t really imagine anything nicer than sitting out in their patio by a fire pit and sipping on one
Apple Mule at Bar Dupont
This Dupont Circle bar has an entire lineup of new fall cocktails, ranging from the Machu Thyme with brandy and thyme infused honey, to house mulled wine, and an Apple Mule – a fun spin on the Moscow Mule made with Apple Smirnoff, apple juice, cranberries, fresh lime juice, and ginger beer. I foresee a few fall evenings spent at the bar’s outdoor patio sipping on one or more of these.
Papa Bear at Kapnos Taverna
The Arlington and College Park locations of Kapnos Taverna are offering the Papa Bear cocktail made with Old Forester bourbon, cardamaro, cinnamon raisin-infused sweet vermouth and pimento bitters. I don’t know about you, but all of that sounds a-okay to me.
The Red Devil at Firefly
The “Red Devil” is a play on red devil cranberry sauce inspired by Thanksgiving at lead Bartender Brendan Ambrose’s brother’s house. This should be your drink of choice if you enjoy your cocktail with a kick to it. It has Espolon tequila, Cointreau, pressed cranberries, adobo sauce, habanero peppers, and blood orange, and even comes with a habanero pepper garnish!
The Johnny Appleseed at Off The Record
At the iconic Hay Adams’ bar, the Johnny Appleseed made with house-spiced dark rum, fresh apple cider, sage-charred lemon syrup and garnished with fresh sage & lemon is best enjoyed with a side of conversation about their iconic political inspired coasters!
Dark Days Ahead at The Rye Bar
The Rye Bar is also featuring a number of new seasonal fall offerings, ranging from a Game of Thrones-inspired rye drink to an Oaxacan-inspired concoction featuring mezcal, along with the best of the season’s ingredients in fun combinations. The Dark Days Ahead (some may think the dark days are already here ;)) features fall’s staple fruit, the apple, in a concoction of calvados, averna, lemon, honey syrup, and yellow chartreuse. Sounds strong and delicious to me!
Sappy Ending Club Venti at Hank’s Cocktail Bar
Of course, Hank’s continues to have some fun filled names on their fall additions. The Sappy Ending Club has everything fall and features Don Q spiced syrup, Avion Reposado, Golden Falernum, Maple Syrup, Cream, Egg White, House aromatic coriander bitters, and Grated nutmeg. You’ll want to get a stack of pancakes with this one! Another way to taste fall flavors here is with the And She’ll Take a Venti, made with Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and Egg Whites.
Apple Collins at Ambar Clarendon
For a light and refreshing fall drink, try this highball drink of gin, cucumber juice and purée, apple rhubarb juice, lime, simple syrup, apple bitters, and a splash of soda. The large patio at the Clarendon bar is perfect for enjoying a warm or chilly fall evening, as it is has plenty of heaters.