Finally, it feels like fall. We can make sure our drinks taste like it, too.
Austinites had to wait until nearly the end of October for milder temperatures to really kick in, and we’re still waiting to see the leaves turn. (Last year’s colorful canopy might have been a fluke.) Thankfully, we don’t have to delay in tasting the flavors of fall in our drinks — ingredients such as apple, cinnamon and sweet potato — because Austin bars and restaurants, not to mention a distillery or two, are on it.
Here’s where to go this month for autumn-minded cocktails, which will help you feel the warming spirit of the season with every sip.
Geraldine’s, 605 Davis St.
Oh, it’s easy to overload on the flavors that remind us of this time of year — a bit too much pumpkin here, a dash too much nutmeg there. But the playfully named, orange-hued MC Yammer is a harmonious mixture of sweet potato-infused Tito’s Vodka, Licor 43, almond milk, maple, pecan orgeat and toasted mallow.
Whisler’s, 1816 E. Sixth St.
For this season’s cocktail menu, the East Austin watering hole’s bartenders turned to the music that moves them for inspiration. Each of the drinks is named after a particular song, such as Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla’s "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom." Whisler’s drink of the same name — a little spicy, a little sweet — has mezcal, Aperol, tamarind, strawberry, citrus, pepper, cinnamon and worm salt. Other song-themed, fall-flavored elixirs include:
• Electric Feel, named after the MGMT song, zings with the vegetal notes of tequila and purple corn, balanced with cinnamon and citrus.
• Yulunga, named after a song by English band Dead Can Dance, is an unexpected delight, a spice-filled twist on the classic daiquiri, with lemongrass, ginger-infused rum, avocado, yuzu and pineapple.
Live Oak at the Four Seasons, 98 San Jacinto Blvd.
In the spring and summer, we tend to want refreshing drinks piled high with ice; in fall and winter, we find warming, booze-forward drinks with a single square cube preferable. Such is the case with the Centenario from Live Oak at the Four Seasons. The drink, made with reposado tequila and mezcal, is extra cool because it’s poured from a lightbulb-shaped contraption into a serving glass below. (Get your phone camera ready.)
>> RELATED: 7 beers to help you feel the fall vibes in Austin
It’s Italian Cucina, 1500 S. Lamar Blvd., No. 110
The classic Negroni, made with equal parts gin, Campari and red vermouth, can have seemingly endless variations. Eight of them are on the menu at this cozy Italian eatery. Go with the Caffe, featuring the bittersweet addition of Mr. Black Coffee Liqueur. Coffee and Campari are complementary flavors that should be in everything together; at least they’re in this drink.
Desert Door Distillery, 211 Darden Hill Road
The funkiness of this Driftwood distillery’s sotol might seem hard to add to cocktails. Think again: The seasonality of the boozy offerings at Desert Door’s Southwest-chic tasting room suggest otherwise. There, the Cedar Chopper with sotol, apple cider, lime, agave and rosemary is the sort of sweet, herbal sipper you’ll want in hand on a cold Hill Country night, stars glittering overhead.
District Kitchen & Cocktails, 7858 Shoal Creek Blvd.
As it turns out, tiki cocktails are tailor-made for fall and winter. One of their common ingredients, falernum, often contains cloves and allspice. Combined with spiced rum and added to a tall tiki mug, you get a tropical drink meant for cooler weather. (In other words, for Texas in November.) That’s what District Kitchen & Cocktails created with It Was Fall a Dream, a drink lightly accented with pineapple and coconut.
Prohibition Creamery, 1407 E. Seventh St.
Tis the season for freshly picked, juicy apples and all the sweet treats we can make with them. East Austin’s cocktail and ice cream parlor, Prohibition, has the slyly named Adam’s Revenge on offer to celebrate. With Treaty Oak’s Waterloo Antique Gin, velvet falernum, bourbon, lemon, housemade apple butter, clove tincture and cinnamon, it’ll taste like spiced apple pie was poured into a glass.
The Carillon, 1900 University Ave.
The pisco sour is another classic cocktail — tart, sweet and earthy — that can easily be altered for the seasons. At the elegant restaurant in the AT&T Center, the South American brandy of pisco is combined with pear purée, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white to deliver a silky, aromatic elixir with one of fall’s most beloved fruits.