Ask a Bartender: What's Your Favorite Fall Ingredient?

Ask a Bartender

You ask, they answer.


Anthony Bohlinger of Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE, Aspen

Fall means sweaters and scarves, pumpkin spice lattes and apple pie—and, for bartenders, an opportunity to rework their cocktail lists. We asked some of our favorite bartenders: What's your favorite cocktail ingredient to work with in the fall? Here's what they had to say.

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Chris Hopkins at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

"This fall, my favorite thing to play with is whole eggs. The classic 'Flip' style cocktail is ready for a big comeback as the texture provided by a whole egg in a cocktail is unique and wholesome. I am doing a Coin Flip cocktail using Fernet Branca that is my new favorite drink." — Chris Hopkins (The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas)

"Cinnamon-infused Campari. That is all." — Justin Fairweather (Evelyn Drinkery)

"Qamar al-din. It's a stewed apricot drink popular during Ramadan. Add whiskey, orange flower water and garnish with a touch of cinnamon—it tastes like fall in a cup and the color is gorgeous!" — Lauren Lathrop Williams (Jsix Restaurant)

"Rich spices are key for me. I have just started using an extract from Bittered Sling. They make an amazing Moroccan extract called Lem-Marrakech. It's a blend of citrus and Moroccan spices." — Anthony Bohlinger (Chefs Club by FOOD & WINE)

"I recently made a clove tincture using Laphroaig 10yr. It adds just enough clove and smoke without polarizing the cocktail." — Beau du Bois (The Corner Door)

Calvados and Cognac

Vincent Stipo of Vernick Food & Drink, Philly

"All the syrups we make at Vernick Food & Drink. Right now I have one with pear, caramelized sugar, and vanilla bean." — Vincent Stipo (Vernick Food & Drink)

"Fall is a great season for cocktails; as the weather gets colder, the flavors can get bolder. You can start playing with some fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove etc. I have had a recent love affair with Black Walnut bitters, however, and am currently using it in a cocktail at the bar. Delicious." — George Reilly (The Twisted Tail)

"St Elizabeth Allspice Dram. It just adds a little of that autumnal spiced quality to your drinks, which is all I need for fall. Save the hot drinks for when it actually gets cold." — Keith Kenji Cochran (The Narrows,, King Noodle)

"Bourbon is the easy answer. I really enjoyed a walnut/white truffle honey cocktail I did last year.  I might play around with that again." — Ben Anderson (The Corner Office Restaurant)

"Fall conjures up memories of cinnamon, pumpkin and creamy deliciousness. Maybe I'll do something different this year... could be something involving chestnuts. In short, I don't know. I'll let you know when I come across it." — Kahil Nayton ( Larry Lawrence, Terminal 5 )

Jen Queen of Saltbox Dining & Drinking in San Diego

"Sage or cinnamon." — Jen Queen (Saltbox Dining & Drinking)

"I love playing around with Calvados during the fall since apples are all the rage. Mixing that up with other fall flavors like cinnamon and ginger has always served me well!" — Jeff Faile (Fiola)

"Whiskey! It's great when the weather cools off." — Ergys Dizdari (Filini Bar and Restaurant)

"I like working with Madagascar vanilla. It brings the warm, soothing spice note that so many people can relate to for the fall, without being too overpowering to the cocktail. We currently use them in our house-spiced bourbon." — Jason Lam (Sens)

"Cranberries and apples are my favorite fall ingredients. They play well in fizzes and shrubs." — Richard Woodruff (Chambers Eat + Drink)

"Apples, blood oranges, and oroblancos." — Dave Kupchinsky (The Eveleigh)

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