Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Give Fall the Boot: Autumn Cocktails

Autumn is finally here. The leaves are changing, the air is crisp and brisk, and tailgating is now in full swing all weekend long. Now is the time for hiking the mountains, experiencing the countryside, and exploring previously unknown parts of cities. In other words, this is the season to get outside and be active and present in your surroundings.

A great way to ensure that you don’t spend your entire fall on the couch watching football (that’s why bowl season is in winter) is to invest in some good fall footwear that makes you want to walk around. Two styles that every well-heeled (pun intended) gentleman should have are sturdy boots and brown monk straps.

Autumn is the season for boots, and specifically a functional, yet sartorial, hiking boot. Now I am not talking about a highly technical pair of Vasque (although if you do spend a lot of time hiking, you should invest in a pair to save your ankles). I mean a sturdy pair of leather boots that will allow you walk on rocks, stomp through puddles, wade through leaves, wander down cobblestone streets, and still look sharp when you jump off the trail and into the local pub. Dark brown lace-ups are the perfect boot. And if you can find a sturdy pair with broguing, you will get even more wear from them (Grenson, Ferragamo, Brooklyn Bootworks, and Mark McNairy all make great pairs). These boots look sharp when paired with jeans, pants, or a tweed or heavy wool suit (and when worn to work, give the appearance of having to be at a better “adventure” than your desk).

The other perfect fall shoe is a monkstrap. The beauty of a monkstrap is that there are so many different styles—single strap, double strap, a buckle on each side, with or without brogue—that even though they are the “it” shoe of the moment, you can still find your own individual style. A perfect monkstrap, especially in a brown or oxblood, can go right from day into night, be worn with jeans and suits, and are equally at ease in a (less formal) client meeting as they are at cocktails with friends. Their versatility makes them the perfect travel companion when you can (and should) pack only one shoe. I recently wore mine on the plane (easy to slip on and off at security), then to a client meeting, a quick sightseeing tour of the city, out for drinks with friends, and finally to a refined restaurant, all in the same day. I challenge you to find a more adaptable pair of shoes. 

The other great thing about fall is the cocktails. To me, no drink screams “fall” like a Jack Rose:

2 oz. Laird’s Applejack
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. Grenadine

***Shake vigorously over ice. Strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with an apple slice.

Of course, you could always go with an Autumn in Manhattan:

1 oz. VSOP Cognac
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth (Carpano or Cochi are my favorites for this one)
1 oz. Bulleit Rye
1/4 oz. Bittermens Hiver Amer
2 dashes Angostura bitters
6 drops Xocolatl Mole Bitters
6 drops Orange Cream Citrate

***Stir over ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with an orange twist

And you can never go wrong with an American Trilogy in hand:

1 oz. Redemption Rye
1 oz. Laird’s Applejack
2 Brown sugar cubes
2 dashes Orange bitters

***Muddle the sugar cubes and bitters together. Add remainder of ingredients. Add 1 large ice cube and stir 5-6 times. Garnish with an orange rind.

Around Halloween, order up a Corpse Reviver #1:

2 oz. brandy or cognac
1 oz. Laird’s Applejack
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura

***Stir over ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

And finally, end your late autumn nights with a Lazy Man Flip:
1 oz. Laird’s Applejack
3/4 oz. Port
1/4 oz. Simple syrup
1/2 oz. cream
Egg Yolk

***Add all ingredients to a shaker and dry shake (without ice) to emulsify the egg for one minute. Add ice and continue shaking for another 30 seconds.  Strain into glass. Optional: garnish with shaved nutmeg.

It has been said that you can tell a lot about a man from his shoes. Make sure that your shoes tell the world that you are a man of style, adventure, taste, and sophistication. And if all else fails, they can at least walk you home after you finish your Flip.

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