Slideshow: The Best Drinks We Drank in September

Mexican Coke Float at Salt & Straw in Portland, OR
Mexican Coke Float at Salt & Straw in Portland, OR

"It might seem like overkill—okay, it's overkill—but as a lover of Coke floats as well as coffee, I took the high recommendation of this hefty concoction to heart. Salt & Straw's double-fold vanilla ice cream is doused in Mexican Coke, with a "shot" of Stumptown "espresso" thrown in (this is true at the ice cream shop's locations with an espresso machine, but at their Southeast location you will just get a dram of Stumptown cold brew poured out of a refrigerated growler). It's served with the remainder of the Coke bottle&mash;for you to either drink as a soda back or continue to attenuate the flavor of your float. While we found the taste of the cold brew pervaded a wee bit more than we wanted—why must cold brew coffee treats always taste so vaguely medicinal?—we trust that a more assertive espresso flavor would make this one a keeper. But it's the Coke and ice cream that are the stars of the show here—definitely pour in the whole rest of the bottle once you've made room."—Liz Clayton, coffee columnist

[Photo: Liz Clayton]

Flavored Grappa in Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Flavored Grappa in Santiago de Compostela, Spain
"At the end of a long dinner fit for Galician gastronomes, a digestif was absolutely mandatory to settle the octopus, grilled razor clams, and fried sardines swimming around in my belly. No sooner had I made the suggestion than my host sent a knowing look to our waiter, who disappeared for a brief moment before emerging from the liquor cellar with a rainbow of flavored grappas. The flavors from left to right are coffee, caramel, honey and herbs, and cinnamon cream. They were all sweetened, and they were all delicious. I also sipped the base grappa which had a bracing heat and left me with wonderfully earthy smack to the chest (not pictured, nor for the faint of heart). A perfect interlude before a night on the town."—Andrew Strenio, spirits reviewer
Blueberry Soda from Brooklyn Farmacy
Blueberry Soda from Brooklyn Farmacy
"Sweet, tart, bubbly and wonderfully refreshing on a rudely humid September day. This was my first visit to Brooklyn Farmacy and I was utterly charmed by the decor and menu. I shall be returning to try every flavor on the menu."—Leandra Palermo, ad sales
Gazpacho at Vera Pizzeria, Buffalo NY
Gazpacho at Vera Pizzeria, Buffalo NY

"The Gazpacho from Buffalo's Vera Pizzeria contains dry gin, fresh lemon juice, St. Germain, sriracha, and crushed cucumber. Even without the hot sauce, it's a sweet, refreshing drink, but a little bit of the rooster gives it a nice zing, and pretty color."—Nick Guy, cocktail contributor

[Photo: Nick Guy]

Spirited Away at Topolobampo, Chicago
Spirited Away at Topolobampo, Chicago

"I am a sucker for the subtle smokiness of a good mezcal cocktail. So when I ordered this seasonal drink at Chicago's Topolobampo, Chef Rick Bayless's celebrated Mexican restaurant adjoining Frontera Grill, this past month, I was already fully expecting to like it. It was even better than anticipated. To a base of Wahaka joven espadín mezcal, the bar adds blackberry juice, fresh lime, and an Earl Grey tea syrup. The tartness of the fruit works so well against the brooding mezcal. A snowball-like sphere of coconut ice keeps the drink chilled while gradually introducing a rich, milky sweetness to the mix. This drink takes the basic building blocks of a classic Bramble and gives it a fresh, Oaxacan-style twist. Yet another reason to lament the passing of the season."—Roger Kamholz, cocktail contributor

[Photo: Roger Kamholz]

Stumptown Thai-Style Cold Brew
Stumptown Thai-Style Cold Brew

"Food festivals are fun, but not always the most...restful, shall we say. Hometown heroes Stumptown kept me fueled throughout Feast Portland with their Thai-Style Cold Brew, which is brewed with my all-time favorite coffee additive, sweetened condensed milk. This stuff is rocket fuel. The only downside is that it's currently only available in Portland Stumptown cafes, despite my repeated assurance to the staff that I'd singlehandedly spend enough to support the market in NYC."—Jamie Feldmar, Managing Editor

[Photo: Naomi Bishop]

Aged Pinot Bianco in Alto Adige
Aged Pinot Bianco in Alto Adige
"I thought I wasn't into Pinot Bianco... then I tasted the 1996 Cantina Terlano Vorberg Pinot Bianco, generously poured in a fat lineup of wines at Cantina Terlano in Alto Adige, Italy. The wine spent 10 years on its lees in stainless steel followed by seven years in the bottle and was still ROCKING FRESH and linear, green and lively juxtaposed with cider-like aged components and flavors of dried straw, banana skin, talk powder and Twizzlers. WTF, wow, Pinot Bianco FTW."—Stevie Stacionis, Adventures with Weird Wine Grapes
Egg Cream from Eisenberg's
Egg Cream from Eisenberg's

"I don't drink egg creams that often, but I had a feeling Eisenberg's would make a good one. And they delivered. Their egg cream was a nice balance of lightly fizzy, creamy, and chocolaty, a great addition to my tuna melt lunch." —Robyn Lee, AHT editor and staff photographer

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Old, Old Brandy
Old, Old Brandy
"During a press trip to Cognac, France, earlier this month, I had a brandy at Martell that was distilled in 1848. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but that was the point. The sample was part of a tasting to emphasize the importance of blending to make a good cognac, a type of brandy distilled from grapes that can only be produced in the Cognac region. Different brandies of varying age and quality are mixed together to balance the strengths and weaknesses of each other. We mixed our 1848 with a sample from 1875 (once again, pretty good, but not over-the-moon), and it was only then that you could really start to see a special spirit emerge, as the whole became greater than the sum of its parts. I wrote tasting notes, but they were almost a distraction as I spent the entire time thinking about all the history that has happened while this stuff was sitting there in the warehouse. In industry where companies constantly trumpet their heritages, that was the best part, getting to drink the actual history."—Reid Mitenbuler, Drinking in History

[Photo: Reid Mitenbuler]

Amazing Apricot Nectar
Amazing Apricot Nectar
"As simple as it sounds, the best drink I had this September was apricot nectar from Alain Milliat. It's a gift to enjoy pure fruit expression like that, and I've always been a fan of the texture of stone fruits. The juice came in the afternoon on a long day in the middle of a work trip, and it gave me just the right boost of energy to push through till dinner."—Hawk Wakawaka, Pairings Pictured
Zuberfizz
Zuberfizz

"On a recent visit to Colorado, I had my first taste of Zuberfizz. The soda itself doesn't contain any surprises—it's bright, bubbly, and not too sweet, just the way I like it—but the label design is pretty phenomenal. Check out the tagline on that Colorado flag-style cola! Soda made with altitude!?! Guess Zuberfizz knows just how to tap into my inner pun-loving cornball."—Niki Achitoff-Gray, Associate Editor

[Photo: Niki Achitoff-Gray]

Boulevardier at High West Distillery
Boulevardier at High West Distillery
"Utah's terrifying liquor laws nearly sent me sprinting for the Nevada border (no booze sales after 10 p.m.?!), but I was still able to enjoy some beautiful spirits at High West Distillery in also-beautiful Park City. They offer their barrel-aged Boulevardier (High West's bourbon, Vya sweet vermouth, Gran Clasico Bitter) before 10 p.m. both at their bar and by the bottle to take home."—Drew Lazor, Philadelphia contributor
A Variation on a Girolamo Sour at Home
A Variation on a Girolamo Sour at Home

"My homegrown take on the Girolamo Sour rocked my world, this month. I'm obsessed with amaro in the fall, and its spicy-sweet flavor that evokes changing leaves and hot toddies. The Girolamo Sour, conceived by Stephen Cole of The Violet Hour in Chicago, turns Luxardo Amaro Abano, Luxardo Bitter, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white into a tasty fall flip. I used Demerara syrup and a healthy shake of Angostura bitters where Cole used simple and Luxardo Bitter, and loved this frothy take on an autumnal sweet and sour."—Lizz Schumer, cocktail contributor

[Photo: Lizz Schumer]

Wine in Emilia-Romagna
Wine in Emilia-Romagna

"I loved every wine I tried at Cinque Campi winery in Emilia-Romagna, particularly their unfiltered, naturally fermented Lambrusco 'Rio degli Sgoccioli,' and the 'Terbianc,' a sparkling white made from three varieties of the Trebbiano grape."—Carey Jones, NY contributor

[Photo: Carey Jones]

Roosters Brewing Co. Peloton Pale Ale at The Beerhive Pub, Salt Lake City
Roosters Brewing Co. Peloton Pale Ale at The Beerhive Pub, Salt Lake City

"Despite the often draconian drinking laws in Salt Lake City, the area still has a thriving craft beer scene. Many places offer bottled beer instead of draft to skirt low-ABV laws, and this 500 mL Peloton Pale Ale from Roosters Brewing Company boasts a 7% ABV. This English-style beer is brewed with eight different malts and three types of hops for a full-bodied, crisp finish—a perfect note for an early fall afternoon."—Farley Elliot, Los Angeles contributor

[Photo: Farley Elliot]