Oklahoma weather tempts us with crisp fall-like days in September, but generally it’s October when autumn gets started in earnest. With this change, thoughts turn to classic seasonal flavors and warming comfort foods and drinks. Ryan Stack, bar manager at Juniper Restaurant & Martini Lounge, has seen this play out with customers at his bar. He says the sweltering summer weather had everyone reaching for light chardonnays and rosés, refreshing cocktails made with sparkling wine and fruit juices and ice-cold summer brews. Now customers have a taste for familiar earthy flavors suitable for fall.
Stack says that as Juniper developed the fall menu they’ve kept libations in mind, tailoring their famous infused spirits to match the season. A clear winner is the apple cinnamon bourbon – Bulleit infused with Granny Smith apples and fresh ground cinnamon – that is used to create a Manhattan that pairs perfectly with heartier fare such as pork belly and duck.
“It’s a twist on a classic that reminds people of the best parts of the fall,” says Stack.
Apple Cinnamon Manhattan
3 oz. apple cinnamon infused Bulleit bourbon*
1/2 oz. Formula Antiqua Sweet Vermouth.
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.
*If you’d like to experiment with making your own infused liquor, a number of good tutorials are available online.