The Trade Winds at the Drink
From lattes to lagers, pumpkin-laced beverages abound this time of year. Few balance the flavor as expertly as this punch, which gets its essence from a freshly juiced baking variety. Citrusy Famous Grouse scotch tempers the gourd’s sweetness, while chili-pepper–spiced chai tea adds a layer of nutmeg and clove. It’s finished with grapefruit juice, which hints at winter’s crispness, and a dash of sherry rye bitters to tie the elements together. 228 Manhattan Ave between Grand and Maujer Sts (718-782-8463, thedrinkbrooklyn.com). Glass $5, bowl $43.
The Evergreen at the Wayland
Bartender Brian Hawthorne channels a warming hearth for this quaff: He starts by cold-smoking and freezing highball glasses to capture the essence of a winter fire, then pours in gin to create a sturdy botanical base. Pear cider contributes effervescence, lemon juice gives a bright boost and a few drops of house-made pine-smoked bitters lend subtle woodsy notes. A sage leaf garnish nods to the herbaceous beginning. 700 E 9th St at Ave C (212-777-7022, thewaylandnyc.com). $12.
First Date at Booker and Dax at Ssäm
For this stiff concoction, cocktail wizards Tristan Willey and Dave Arnold tinker with the classic Old Fashioned on the rocks. The pair imbues oaky bourbon with the essence of ripe dates by spinning the ingredients in a centrifuge to extract the fruits’ richness and clarify the brown-spirit blend. A wide twist of orange plays up the whiskey’s citrus notes. 207 Second Ave at E 13th St (212-254-3500, momofuku.com/new-york/booker-and-dax). $14.
Red October at the Counting Room
Inspired by Milk & Honey barkeep Sammy Ross’ bittersweet Paper Plane cocktail, Maksym Pazuniak crafted this variation to celebrate a favorite holiday fruit: the cranberry. Pazuniak begins with a tart shrub (made with vinegar, cranberry and apple cider) bolstered by tequila. The libation gets its bittersweet edge from two herbal Italian liqueurs (aperol and amaro ciaciaro) and extra acidity from lime juice. 44 Berry St at N 11th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-1860, countingroom.com). $11.
The Orchard at the Pitch and Fork
Each sip of this balanced tipple bursts with ripe fruit flavor. A glug of apple juice fortifies Calvados (French brandy distilled from cider) in this quaff. The tartness from freshly squeezed lemon kicks up the fruitiness, but a float of Angostura bitters evens out the final result. 1606 First Ave at E 83rd St (212-288-1003, thepitchandfork.com). $12.
Come for the beer (they’ve got a 99-label strong collection that includes brews like Chimay and Duvel) and stay for the chicken? The “Wing Ding” special promises two hours of unlimited, wings, fries and booze for just $22. It’s a fine distraction…assuming the 15 flat-screens don’t do the trick.
Venue says: “Over 150 craft beers on tap, new beers every week. Happy Hour Beer & Bites $6. Lunch pre-fix menu $16”