Summer cocktail season is a highly-anticipated time of the year, and for good reason. Sangria, frozen margs, tiki drinks, magnums of rosé…it’s a pretty unbeatable scene. But once cooler temperatures head this way, Brooklyn’s bartenders take full advantage of fall flavors, adding beverages to their lists that incorporate pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple. Plus, the return of 35-degree temperatures means that hot cocktails are acceptable orders once again (and for this, we’re very grateful). Now that the holidays are looming in the not-at-all-distant future, we owe it to ourselves to enjoy 2017’s fall cocktails before this magical and all-too-brief season comes to an end. In that spirit, we’ve got a few recommendations for excellent autumn libations in North Brooklyn. Yeah, you’re welcome.
Autumn Sour at Hotel Delmano | 82 Berry St
Planning an autumn date? You’ll do well to head for an intimate, aesthetically pleasing bar with a quality cocktail list. In North Brooklyn, we’re lucky enough to have Hotel Delmano, which pretty much owns the ‘Sexy Williamsburg Date Bar’ scene. The bar team at Hotel Delmano recently unleashed their fall list, and while it includes a wide range of awesome libations, we’re particularly partial to the Autumn Sour ($14). It’s a smooth cocktail with plenty of autumnal flavors, centered around coffee-infused bourbon. Next, Hotel Delmano adds pumpkin, lemon, creme de cacao and egg white before shaking it up and serving it on the rocks, topped with a sprig of mint. It’s a clever spin on the whiskey sour with some unexpected flavors that work together in a very harmonious way.
Night Silo at Ramona | 113 Franklin St
Cocktails with espresso are a pretty natural fit for the fall. As the days become shorter, we need an extra kick to get us through a night of bar-hopping, and when a drink has both caffeine and booze, you’re covering all your bases. Luckily, there’s no need to settle for a tragic, circa-2001 ‘espresso martini’…not when cocktails like the Basic Witch and Ramona’s Night Silo ($14) exist in the world. The Night Silo blends espresso with chicory-root whiskey, maple, bourbon cream, heavy cream, and absinthe for a multi-dimensional drinking experience. The richness of the cream and the espresso flavor feel reminiscent of Baileys but in the best possible way. The chicory whiskey brings a toasty warmth, and the licorice finish of the absinthe makes for an unexpected and very welcome twist. It’s the perfect drink for a chilly November night, especially if you snag the second-floor table by the window. It’s a tough spot to claim, but it’s worth the wait.
The Little King Hot Toddy at Little King | 749 Metropolitan Ave
It’s hard to conceive of a better cure-all for a sore throat (or a case of general cold-weather malaise) than a potent hot toddy. But if you’re in the mood for something a bit more original than the typical hot water-whiskey-lemon formula, East Williamsburg’s jewel box of a cocktail lounge, Little King, has just the thing. Their new house toddy ($13) takes a turn for the tropical, blending Redemption bourbon, honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon syrup with a ‘secret’ ingredient: Coco Lopez cream of coconut. Not only will the Little King Hot Toddy keep you warm on a chilly late-autumn evening, but it’ll also remind you that summer’s not too far away. Just six months. C’mon, guys…we can make it through.
Waterloo Sunset at The Shanty | 113 Franklin St
In spite of all the eye-roll-inducing DIY and ‘artisanal’ stuff happening in Brooklyn, it’s pretty hard to argue with a bar where you can drink gin & whiskey made in the very same building. That’s exactly what you’ll get at The Shanty, New York Distilling Company’s on-site drinking den. It’s a relaxed and cozy spot with an industrial-chic vibe, and the cocktail list involves a level of ingenuity (and a lower price point than other neighborhood bars) that’s clearly possible because they’re using house-made spirits. They change their drink menu on a seasonal basis, and 2017’s fall selections include the whimsically-named Waterloo Sunset ($11), which features NY Distilling’s Ragtime Rye, housemade orgeat (almond syrup), American Fruits pear liqueur, Black Dirt applejack, lemon, Kummel (a caraway-based liqueur), a dash of nutmeg, and a fan of apple slices. The spicy Kummel and sweet applejack play wonderfully off the flavor of the rye, and the fanned apple slices and frosted coupe make the Waterloo Sunset as photogenic as it is delicious.
Hot Buttered Rum at Five Leaves | 18 Bedford Ave
Hot buttered rum seems like the simplest of cocktails. Warm up some rum, throw in some spices and aromatics, and you’re done. However, the end product often fails on the balance front, tasting either far too boozy or far too sweet. That’s why we have such appreciation for the Platonic-ideal version available at Five Leaves ($12), which has become a standard on their cold-weather cocktail list for several years. It’s made with Appleton’s Estate rum, cognac, Angostura bitters, lemon, and a dusting of cinnamon, all served in a teacup. The flavors meld into a comforting, just-spicy-enough sipper with a satisfying level of rumminess. Order it at one of Five Leaves’ outdoor tables and enjoy a peak-fall evening of crisp air, a toasty cocktail, and prime McCarren Park people-watching.
Cumberland Cider at Diamond Lil | 179 Nassau Ave
A fall cocktail list without a cider is, to be quite frank, Just Not Done. And while many a Brooklyn bar offers ciders on-draft throughout the year, autumn is the time for more creative takes on the concept. Diamond Lil, the beautiful new-ish bar across the street from McGolrick Park, is where you can find a prime example of next-level cider, the Cumberland Cider ($12). Served on-the-rocks, the Cumberland Cider includes apple cider, bourbon, allspice, and a Diamond Lil specialty known as ‘Gardenia Mix’ (a house-made honey butter with vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg). The result? A single cocktail that encompasses all of fall’s greatest flavor hits. We’re big fans of efficiency here at Greenpointers, so we’ve gotta give Diamond Lil credit for this one.