Ready for a cocktail? Yeah, me too. These recipes will serve us all well this weekend, evoking fall flavors but not moving all the way into winter's stiffer stirred drinks. It's time for a sip of bitter amaro, a touch of spice, and a little effort preserving the last of summer's fruit for the long drinking months to come.
If your farmers' market still has some berries or stone fruit for sale, now is the time to preserve those treats for the cooler season. This method dates back to before the invention of refrigeration—these trendy tart syrups have been around awhile. Our Cocktail 101 columnist wrote a great guide to making shrubs if you want to brush up. (He's also working on a book on the topic, due out July 2014 from Countryman Press.) Once you've made your shrub, you can drink it with seltzer or put it in a simple cocktail, like this one, made with dark rum and seltzer.
Darkside Iced Tea
Here's another rum drink that's fit for fall: it's a riff on the Long Island Iced Tea, mixing aged rum, lemon, and orange liqueur with Fernet Branca to approximate the flavors of Coca-Cola. There's peppery rye there to up the ante, too.
Cardamom and Mint Cocktail
A little cardamom adds intrigue to this gin cocktail, shaken with fresh mint leaves and a generous squeeze of lime. Lillet Blanc rounds it out; feel free to try it with Cocchi Americano if you have that on hand.
The Stay Up Late
A little cognac adds richness and gravitas to this variation on the Tom Collins, making it a perfect transitional drink for September. The cocktail appeared in the 1946 Stork Club Bar Book by Lucius Beebe, but we learned about it from New York bartender Theo Lieberman.
This pre-dinner drink from Jackson Cannon of Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston is a delicious reason to buy Amaro Montenegro—or experiment with other amari you might have on hand. It's just the bitter liqueur plus fresh orange juice and rich Aperol, and it's a drink we'll make again and again.
Have a good weekend, everyone!