A taste of fall

Local restaurants revamp cocktail menus to celebrate the season

Summer and all its bounty has officially come to an end, but don't let that dampen your spirits. The new season brings not only fall foliage, but an abundance of apples, ginger, pears and cinnamon -- many of which can be found in fall cocktails packed with color, flavor and spice.

Local establishments are celebrating sweater weather by crafting new drink menus featuring a variety of autumn-appropriate cocktails. Read on for where to go and what to order.

Cinnamon Slope

Indo Restaurant & Lounge, 3295 El Camino Real, Palo Alto

Indo's Cinnamon Slope brings a little heat to autumn by infusing muddled cinnamon with a dash of angostura and angostura orange bitters before incorportating straight rye whiskey, Italian vermouth and apricot brandy. "This particular apricot brandy is definitely the sweetener to the drink," said bar manager Samuel Nguyen. "This is what is going to add the fall flavor to the drink. A lot of people are going with ciders, apples and pumpkins, and apricot is a fruit that people don't pay attention to in the fall, so the apricot really stood out to us, and it complements really well with the cinnamon." The crafty concoction -- garnished with a cinnamon stick for a seasonal touch -- has a great balance of woodsy spice and slight sweetness that aims to ignite the senses.

Bourbon Baked Apple

Steins Beer Garden, 895 Villa St., Mountain View

Steins Beer Garden's Bourbon Baked Apple combines bourbon, ginger beer, apple juice, lemon juice and spices in a holiday-inspired drink that lends an inner warmth. The bourbon and ginger beer give it a seasonal punch, but it's the house-made spiced syrup that really gives this cocktail flavors reminiscent of Grandma's apple pie.

Autumn Fever

Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, 855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto

The sweet aroma and flavors of fall are highlighted in Mayfield's Autumn Fever, made with crisp apple, bourbon, apple brandy, freshly squeezed lemon juice, angostura bitters, ginger beer and maple syrup -- a cozy and soothing drink perfect for chilly weather. Barman Brandon Clements (who also oversees the bar programs at the Michelin-starred Village Pub in Woodside and Spruce and Café des Amis in San Francisco) said the farm-fresh apples, which are at the peak of their season, combined with the warm brown spirits and spice from the ginger and bitters screams fall. "It's not a heavy drink like an eggnog that maybe would be best enjoyed during the chill of winter, but rather a blend of rich and crisp like the turning of leaves," Clements said.

Calafia Cooler

Calafia Cafe, 855 El Camino Real #130, Palo Alto

The end of summer doesn't mean the end of the heat, especially here in the Bay Area. For Indian Summer afternoons, Calafia Cafe offers its Calafia Cooler. The refreshing cocktail infuses muddled pear and ginger with plum wine and pear juice, plus a splash of soda water and a garnish of fresh thyme. Calafia mixologist Laura Wilson said the cocktail is inspired by "crisp fall flavors and the launch of our new seasonal galette." Wilson added that she is excited to use plum wine, ginger and pear in a whole new way.

Soul Cider

The Patio, 412 Emerson St., Palo Alto

If you're looking for something to warm your soul, The Patio's Soul Cider will do just that. In this fall-spirited drink, bold-bodied whiskey is balanced with maple syrup and angostura bitters and blended with rich, unfiltered apple nectar. Garnished with a cinnamon stick and apple chip, this spicy rye cider is geared to warm you from the inside out.

Bonus drink: Think Pink

Quattro Restaurant, 2050 University Ave., East Palo Alto

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Quattro at the Four Seasons is joining the campaign to increase awareness of the disease with its Think Pink cocktail. Grenadine and fresh watermelon juice give the drink a vibrant pink color while pear vodka adds depth of flavor, and elderflower liqueur brings a fresh and floral aroma. For every cocktail sold, $1 will be donated to the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.


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