Gallery: The Best Drinks We Drank in November

Homemade Pumpkin Flip
Homemade Pumpkin Flip
"I loved this pumpkin flip that a friend and I made. I'm a sucker for pumpkin pie cocktails, but this one was particularly good because it wasn't too sweet. It was a bold spiced bourbon cocktail with a nice light foam and hint of pumpkin."—Marcia Simmons, DIY vs. Buy columnist

[Photo: Savvy Housekeeping]

Ayran in Istanbul
Ayran in Istanbul
"Yogurt might be my favorite food, so it's not too surprising that I loved the ayran that I tried in Istanbul. It's a drink you can get anywhere in Turkey—at fast-food stands, at the supermarket—but fresher, non-packaged versions are something pretty remarkable. Imagine a thin, thin yogurt base that gets frothed, often through an aerator (the way you might see lemonade circulating through a container in the States), so that it's light and airy; in dramatic presentations like this, the froth is carefully scooped out for a rather dramatic presentation. Underneath it's a cold, slightly salty, very refreshing drinkable yogurt, closer to the consistency of milk than, say, kefir. Great with food and great on its own."—Carey Jones, Senior Managing Editor

[Photo: Carey Jones]

Lime Leaf Gin & Tonic
Lime Leaf Gin & Tonic
"Readers have pointed out that the K word is an archaic and offensive one, even when pertaining to limes, so we'll just call this a lime leaf gin and tonic, the first sip of my Thanksgiving evening at a friend's home. The leaf is muddled directly into the gin, and though you could hardly call it an American classic, you can't help but call it a boon to gin fans everywhere. As I've said before, it's beyond me why more gin isn't made (or mixed) with this stuff.

Also worth a shout-out, also at Thanksgiving, but more weather-appropriate: the same host's excellent Manhattans (Carpano Antica, Reagans orange bitters, Greek sour cherry syrup) with applejack as the main spirit. It'll be hard for me to order them any other way now."—Max Falkowitz, SENY Editor

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

"The Lena" Cappuccino from Big Bear Cafe in Washington DC
Strolling through my old neighborhood of Bloomingdale in D.C., I popped into one of my favorite cafes, Big Bear. All set to order a cappuccino, I was distracted by the special drink featured on the chalkboard near the register: "The Lena" (which I learned later is a nod to Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY) is a cappuccino made with cinnamon and clove-spiced chocolate and a touch of orange oil. "Um, actually I'll take one of those." It was a sweet afternoon treat, somewhere between mocha, masala chai, and cappuccino, with a whisper of citrus. Best enjoyed at the sidewalk tables outside on a crisp day."—Erin Zimmer, National Managing Editor

[Photo: Erin Zimmer]

Diet Coke at Mission Chinese, NYC
Diet Coke at Mission Chinese, NYC
"The best drink I had in November was a Diet Coke (with free refills) at Mission Chinese Food. Ok, it sounds really strange when I say it, but somebody, please back me up here. Any Diet Coke drinker knows that there's huge variations in the quality of fountain beverages depending on the restaurant you go to. I don't know if it's dirty lines, bad carbonators, or perhaps cheap imitation syrups, but a Diet Coke is not just a Diet Coke.

The ones they serve at Mission Chinese are the best I've had anywhere. Always perfectly sparkling and crisp, with big lingering bubbles served in a sturdy plastic cup. No economy ice cubes here. You get crystal-clear Kold-Draft cubes. Kold-Drafts don't have the normal bubbles and imperfections of a standard ice cube, meaning there are fewer nucleation sites for bubbles. So while they don't necessarily keep your drink cooler than normal ice, they do keep them fizzier for much longer. Icy cold refreshment never tasted so good."—J. Kenji López-Alt, Chief Creative Officer

[Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt]

Cocktails at Hersh's Pizza & Drinks, Baltimore
Cocktails at Hersh's Pizza & Drinks, Baltimore
"I apologize for the terrible cellphone photo, but I had to tell you guys about this place—a spot with legit pizza and craft cocktails off the beaten path in Baltimore. We tried the Linus Van Pelt, an autumnal mix of house spiced rum, Carpano Antica, Hum, pumpkin syrup, and fresh lime with a sweet-salty sunflower seed rim. It was rich and sweet up front, but finished herbal and dry. Fans of Manhattans should try the Baltimore, a mix of fig-infused Pikesville Rye, Madeira, Fernet, and Averna Amaro. It's rare for a Fernet cocktail to come out truly balanced, without the Fernet taking over, and this one succeeds. Check it out if you're in the area."—Maggie Hoffman, Drinks Editor

[Photo: Maggie Hoffman]

Cruze Farm Buttermilk from Knoxville, Tennessee
Cruze Farm Buttermilk from Knoxville, Tennessee
"Cruze Farm buttermilk is revered in Southern-food circles to the point at which a person wants to dislike it, just to sneer at the hype. That's hard to do when it tastes so good. Like sharp white cheddar in a glass, bright and fresh as the hills of East Tennessee on a Sunday morning. Years of supermarket buttermilk won't prepare you. I tried their buttermilk at the Market Square Farmers' Market, which is up every Wednesday and Saturday morning in Knoxville. Someone from Cruze is usually there handing out free samples of straight buttermilk and selling buttermilk ice cream and other dairy products."—Jed Portman, soda columnist

[Photo: Jed Portman]

Clouddo at Teado, NYC
Clouddo at Teado, NYC
"During my latest visit to Teado, my favorite tea shop in Chinatown, I couldn't not try their new drink so magnificently named Clouddo. The cloud refers to the thick layer of sweetened, lightly whipped cream that floats on the top of the cold, barely sweetened tea. Punch a hole in the lid with a straw and as you drink, the heavier tea comes out and brings some of the cream on top with it, giving you lightly sweetened and cream-enhanced tea in every sip. After I drank all the tea I ended up with a good amount of leftover cream, which I sucked down like sweet, sweet candy." —Robyn Lee, AHT Editor

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Ritual Roasters' Sweet Tooth Kiawamururu Espresso
Ritual Roasters' Sweet Tooth Kiawamururu Espresso
"I tasted this single-origin Kiawamururu Espresso at the Joe Pro Shop in NYC. This espresso was exactly what the blend's name implies: A sweet, toothsome shot with lovely, complex acidity. Exactly what I needed to warm my heart and soul those first few crisp November afternoons."—Meister, coffee columnist

[Photo: Meister]

Thornbridge Hall's Bracia
Thornbridge Hall's Bracia
"Thornbridge Hall's Bracia might be the best beer I've drunk all year. It's basically a strong dark ale, but definitely doesn't conform to any modern styles. Rich and crazy-complex, the beer is nutty, smoky and unbelievably satisfying."—Mike Reis, beer contributor

[Photo: Mike Reis]

 Punch Drunk in Búzios at La Sirena Clandestina in Chicago
Punch Drunk in Búzios at La Sirena Clandestina in Chicago
"It makes sense that a La Sirena Clandestina, a brand new Brazilian restaurant in Chicago's West Loop, would serve cachaça. That said, instead of relying solely on slinging out caipirinhas, Justin Anderson has created a drink program that not only celebrates Brazil's native spirit, but also pairs exceptionally well with the food. That's definitely true of the Punch Drunk in Búzios, which combines cachaça with cognac, apricot preserves, tea, fresh lime and a housemade ginger beer. It's refreshing, but fascinating—perfect for John Manion vibrantly flavored food."—Nick Kindelsperger, SE Chicago Editor

[Photo: Nick Kindelsperger]

Vintage Grower Champagne
Vintage Grower Champagne
"I was super-busy this month tasting wines to recommend for Turkey Day, but it was a surprise bottle, brought to my house for an early Thanksgiving dinner by Michael Mina sommelier Josiah Baldivino that I'm still thinking about. The 2006 'Rive Gauche-Rive Droite' Grand Cru from Champagne Marc Hebrart demonstrated why it's worth splurging for vintage Champagne grown on good sites. It was rich and complex, golden and delicious with food. The wine was named for the vineyards on both sides of the Marne River where the grapes are grown—Hébrart is a grower-producer who farms 14 hectares of pinot noir and chardonnay to make his wines."—Maggie Hoffman, Drinks Editor

[Photo: Maggie Hoffman]

Hobo Julep at Tooker Alley in Brooklyn
Hobo Julep at Tooker Alley in Brooklyn
"The thing that won me over on this intentionally low-brow Mint Julep variation is the Sno-Cone-like crushed ice cap. Doused in mint bitters, the ice melts into the high-proof whiskey and freshly muddled mint base to create a continually evolving drinking experience."—Maryse Chevriere, NY cocktail contributor

[Photo: Maryse Chevriere]

Mulled Cider
Mulled Cider
"The day before Thanksgiving, I went to the Union Square Green Market to pick up about five pounds of kale, among other things. The air was crisp and I bought a cup of hot cider from Breezy Hill Orchards to sip on as I did my shopping. I enjoyed it so much that I circled back and bought a gallon. On Thanksgiving day, I put it in a large saucepan and Iet it simmer for half an hour with some mulling spices. The cider on its own is on the brighter, more apple-y side—not too thick or musty. The mulling spices added notes of cinnamon, cloves, and the barest hint of orange. It was the perfect non-alchohoilc accompaniment to the meal."—Carrie Vasios, Sweets Editor

[Photo: Carrie Vasios]

Spiked Cider
Spiked Cider
"As a ginger freak who eats at least an apple a day and often laces her coffee with cinnamon, nothing makes me happier than mulled cider. Except mulled cider with bourbon and ginger. I poured about half my bottle of Red Jacket Orchards Spiced Cider into a pitcher and added Buffalo Trace bourbon and sweetened ginger juice—delicious on ice or warmed up!"—Jaclyn Einis, NY Cocktails contributor

[Photo: Robyn Lee]

Grapefruit Shochu at Sushi Izakaya Gaku in Honolulu
Grapefruit Shochu at Sushi Izakaya Gaku in Honolulu
"At Sushi Izakaya Gaku, along with pristine fish and impeccable Japanese food, they've got a short list of cocktails made with sake and shochu. The simple Grapefruit with Shochu was not so simple after all—it was in fact, a grapefruit (and all the tools to juice it) along side a glass of shochu. A little work to get your beverage, but worthwhile for the freshness!"—Naomi Bishop, Seattle cocktail columnist

[Photo: Naomi Bishop]

Scotch at Home
Scotch at Home
"To help ease the transition into the blustery winter days, I'll pour a dram of scotch from my bottle of Glenlivet 18 year old, signed and dated by master distiller Alan Winchester when I went to tour the distillery. Looks like a return trip to Scotland is in order..."—Jessica Leibowitz, video

[Photo: Jessica Leibowitz]