Pumpkin pie, apple cider and the various seasonal dishes we associate with Thanksgiving and Christmas have a unique flavor profile.
Those flavors do not easily translate to cocktails. Done right, however, spicy drinks can add an extra dimension of festivity to the season.
“Everyone likes the holiday flavors,” said Kyle Fleischfresser, beverage director for Western Concepts. “The problem is that they can overwhelm a cocktail.”
He recommends robust liquors, like whiskey, that can stand up to the bold flavors, especially baking spices like cinnamon, cardamom and allspice. The Lobby Bar, 4322 N. Western, is featuring Pumpkin Pie’s Rye throughout the fall. Fleischfresser mixes pumpkin and rosemary-infused rye, sweet vermouth and bitters to make a dry, seasonal cocktail. This one won’t necessarily remind you of pumpkin pie, as it’s not even a little sweet.
Deeper into the season, Fleischfresser will offer mulled wine and hot punch. Mulled wine is red wine mixed with some combination of sugar, fruit zest and spices — usually cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, anise, vanilla and bay leaves.
It can be served hot or cold, but typically, it’s served hot during the fall and winter.
Another popular holiday drink is hard cider. Andy Dixon, beverage director at West, 6714 N. Western, said chef Eric Smith has created West Cider, an apple-cherry hot cider.
The orange-zested cider is mixed with Tuaca, cloves and cinnamon, and then topped with house-made Tuaca whipped cream.
Fan of cranberry sauce or cranberry salad? Try West’s Cranberry and Citrus Fizz. The fizz is a blend of Tanqueray gin, muddled cranberries, orange and lemon. It’s served over ice with a shot of ginger ale to give it the fizz.
This season, Scott Glidewell, bartender at Red PrimeSteak, 504 N. Broadway, has created pumpkin eggnog for the eatery’s cocktail of the month.
One of his talents is bringing balance to mixed drinks. The ingredients work together, rather than against one another, and the alcohol isn’t prominent or off-putting. For the drink, Glidewell infused Gosling’s Black Seal Rum with green cardamom, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and black vanilla.