Bar veteran and drink writer Naren Young developed this cocktail and named it as straightforward as possible: the Autumn encapsulates the spirit of fall, mixing multiple ingredients each with their own autumnal aspects.
The Autumn begins with apples: Laird’s Applejack, in particular. This historic spirit comes from the United States’s oldest active distillery. Applejack is very similar to apple brandy, only it’s a blend of apple distillate and neutral grain spirits, like vodka. The result is lighter and crisper while very apple-forward.
To that, Young adds amontillado sherry, which gives the drink a strong backbone and rich nuttiness without adding much to the overall proof. The Autumn also gets a quarter-ounce of pear brandy to dial up the fall fruit aspect. Young opts for Clear Creek pear brandy, from the oldest operating distillery in Oregon. Clear Creek’s pear brandy is world-renowned, but you can can get away with using another— the pear brandy from from St. George Spirits in California, for instance, is also exceptional.
Rather than simple syrup, Young leans into the fall vibes with maple syrup, then finishes the drink with more apple elements in the form of apple bitters. There are a few producers now making apple bitters, and they can also be used to add a subtle autumnal touch to your favorite Old Fashioned, Manhattan, or Hot Toddy recipe.
Normally, the Autumn is stirred and served chilled over a large ice cube. However, if you’re looking for something close to a Hot Toddy, you can skip the ice and instead add all the ingredients to a glass mug. Stir to incorporate then top with boiling water before adding the allspice tincture and pear crisp garnishes.
- 1 1/2 ounces Laird’s applejack
- 1/2 ounce amontillado sherry
- 1/4 ounce Clear Creek pear brandy
- 1/2 ounce maple syrup
- 3 dashes apple bitters
- Garnish: allspice tincture
- Garnish: dehydrated pear crisp
Add the Laird’s Applejack, amontillado sherry, pear brandy, maple syrup and apple bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.
Spray with allspice tincture, garnish with a pear crisp, and serve on a burning maple leaf (optional).