The leaves on the trees may not be changing color, but the vibes of autumn are all around in the Valley of the Sun – the cooler temperatures, the Halloween decorations, the Thanksgiving recipes, the pumpkin spice-flavored everything, and best of all – the flavorful fall craft cocktails at local lounges. Here are five favorites, with nary a pumpkin spice-anything among them.
El Segundo (The Parlor): mezcal, watermelon, Apertivo Capalletti, lime, black pepper. $11
With a subtle spice pinch and smoky tones from mezcal ebbing and flowing into a soothing, mellow melon finish, El Segundo’s like an Autumn equinox of cocktails. Served with mint leaves and a thick watermelon slice garnish over lots of ice. (pictured, left)
That’s a Deucey (Valley Bar): bourbon, Sandeman Tawny Port, lemon juice, house-made cinnamon syrup and bitters. $8
Somehow, this slightly frothy, tricky mix manages to be simultaneously spicy, smoky and then (exclamation-point worthy) sweet! Like burning autumn leaves covered in honey.
Patches McStormy (Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour): Cruzan Black Strap Rum, ginger beer, Coca-Cola, fresh lime juice, a dash of Fernet Branca and Angostura bitters. $11
Bold and balanced, with a sprightly spicy streak, the aptly named Patches McStormy should be savored like a good late summer monsoon, and served tall and on the rocks. And it gives us another excuse to talk like pirates. Yarr.
High Five (The Gladly): Iwai Japanese Whisky, Mandarine Napoleon, house-made Riesling-cherry cordial, lapsang souchong bitters. $10
Iwai Japanese Whisky (distilled from corn and barley) is a little sweet, as is Mandarine Napoleon, a blend of cognac and mandarins. But the lapsang souchoung (Chinese black tea) bitters bring a perfect balance to this drink.
Diablo Del Sol (Second Story Liquor Bar): El Jimador Blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, house-made spiced agave, house-made raspberry syrup, ginger beer. $14
This drink is not what she seems. She starts all sweet and juicy and fruity, and then – blam! Ginger-snaps your tongue on the finish. So good. Do it again. (pictured, left)
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