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Fall whiskey cocktails from Peché

Emma Janzen
The Harvest cocktail, created by Peche’s Dwayne Clark, features bourbon, apricot liqueur and an Italian bitter called Averna.

Fall has finally blustered in, more or less, which means more robust and boozy drink profiles are appearing on bar menus across the city. The bar staff at Peché always excels in crafting original seasonal tipples, so we’ve turned to them for three whiskey cocktails that evoke the flavors of fall, presented in order from the most approachable to the most advanced.

Lebkuchen

Bartender Larry Miller says the Lebkuchen cocktail springs from two sources of inspiration. In part, it’s based on the Lebkuchen, a 13th-century German recipe for a ginger-based dessert. He was also channeling the essence of a simple whiskey and ginger beer. The resulting concoction is a light-bodied whiskey drink featuring warm fall flavors without the hefty brown, bitter and stirred profile that most autumn cocktails adopt. Snap liqueur provides a muted ginger flavor, more similar to a sweet gingersnap cookie than fiery fresh ginger that can be off-putting. Buffered with bright lemon juice, the drink shines like a simple but delicious whiskey lemonade.

1.5 oz. bourbon

.75 oz. Snap ginger liqueur

.75 oz. lemon juice

.5 oz. honey water

Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The Harvest

Leaning toward a more traditional robust fall profile, the Harvest cocktail conjures images of bonfires and hayrides, with its stout bourbon base and wisps of Italian amari Averna. The rich base spirits hint at flavors like roasted walnuts and molasses. To add a touch of sweetness, bartender Dwayne Clark employs apricot liqueur, explaining that “while apricots aren’t traditionally found fresh in the fall, it works perfectly with the whiskey. It pulls out the flavors that the port wood imparts as it is the finishing touch to the Angel’s Envy bourbon. The Averna finishes the cocktail, balancing the sweetness and acting as the bitters to a traditional Manhattan.”

2 oz. Angel’s Envy

.75 oz Rothman and Winter apricot liqueur

.25 oz. Averna

Stir with ice in a mixing glass until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Wicked Witch

Reserved for the boldest of whiskey lovers, this second cocktail from Miller might look delicate and innocent, but it has a deceptively intense punch of anise and rye. It’s no wonder that the cocktail is named after one of the its primary ingredients (Strega means “witch” in Italian), as the anise-forward liqueur certainly dominates the overall flavor profile. “I wanted to make something that was rich, big, sweet, bitter, like an after-dinner cocktail,” Miller said. While most of the flavors in the drink cry assertive, sweet and slightly bitter, Averna tempers the licorice-heavy Strega, and whiskey binds the various spice flavors with oak and warmth, creating a final drink that will warm the coldest of fall evenings.

1.5 oz. rye whiskey

.75 oz. Averna Amaro

.75 oz. Strega

3 dashes orange bitters

Stir with ice in a mixing glass until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.