WD-50's star barkeep Eben Freeman just departed for France, but he left behind his rolodex of drink concoctions, an international potable museum of obscure liquors, and his protégé Jose "Juice" Miranda. Among this Fall's offerings is the Butternut & Falernum (recipe). It takes about an hour for Miranda to juice the squash, and reduce it. Afterwards, he adds aged spiced rum and Taylor Falernum (a rare sugar-cane cordial with a pronounced nose of cloves and almonds). The result is a surprisingly light, delicately buttery drink with a spicy finish. It goes down easier than the Rye & Quince (recipe), a viscous, slightly tart slow-sipper made of bitters, 100-proof Rittenhouse rye, and Sadaf quince lemon syrup.
Employees Only may be closing its back garden, but don't despair—ginger and cranberries are in season, and barkeeps Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric are muddling them with apple liqueur and wet gin in their throat-tickling Ginger Smash (recipe). Pomegranates are also peaking as they combine with brandy, chai-infused vermouth, and a touch of lemon juice in the spicy Mata Hari (recipe). Garnished with dried rose buds, this slightly creamy, sweet-and-sour drink tastes almost like melted gelato.
Henrietta Paris and Jennifer Armstrong won’t start serving hot mulled wine at the Dove Parlour for a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, you can steel yourself to any climate changes by sitting near the candle-filled fireplace and enjoying one of their autumnal martinis: The egg-noggy Spiced Peach Cobbler (recipe) blends peach vodka, honey, cinnamon, and organic vanilla soy milk. The frothy Honey Dove (recipe) also uses honey and soy milk, but then adds cognac for a delicate tobacco-like flavor. The Federalist décor, perfectly replicating a townhouse in Georgetown, is not a bad place to be when the leaves begin to turn.
It takes Flatiron Lounge mixologist Julie Rainer over a week to prepare the Spiced Pear (recipe) by infusing Bartlett pears with vodka and cloves, then combining the juice with pear nectar and liqueur before garnishing it with, what else, pear slices. For the puckerific Cherry Smash (recipe), she muddles fresh brandy-soaked cherries with lemon juice and orange curacao. The Scarlett Bloom (recipe) will send your tongue diving into a bright, floral concoction of tea-infused gin, South African youngberry juice, and champagne topped by hibiscus pedals.
Instead of an upstate apple orchard, visit the Lower East Side's swank spot Libation for a Big Apple Cobbler (recipe), made with apple cider and Maker's Mark. Hits of apple schnapps and ginger ale lighten the seasonal drink to juice-box smoothness. You'll also find autumnal colors in the Ultimate Libation (recipe): the orange of passion fruit nectar, the red of grenadine, a dusting of 23-karat gold flakes. Now that's rich.
Love ’em or hate ’em, beets have arrived, and at the Flatiron's speakeasy-themed club Speak, you can swill them while the DJ kicks out equally fresh jams. Owner Stacey Leeds says she came up with the vodka-based Blood Martini (recipe) while playing with her juicer at home. The drink is named after its dark-red beet puree, the sweet taste of which is mellowed by fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Dogfish Head Alehouse has released its Punkin’ Ale—brewed with pumpkins, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar—and Schnack's original location (they just opened a second at the Brooklyn Lyceum) is putting it to good use in a Punkin' Ale Shake (recipe) that includes three scoops of vanilla ice cream. Can you think of a better way to wash down a plate of yam fries?
While the Pumpkin Pie cocktail (recipe) being served at Grand Central’s tycoon hideaway The Campbell Apartment, at the World Bar in the Trump Tower, and at the jazz and smoking lounge The Carnegie Club isn’t quite as satisfying as digging the pulp out of a Jack-O-Lantern— the Absolut Vanilla lends an acrid edge— a splash of half and half mellows the sweetness of the pumpkin schnapps for a creamy sip.