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Autumn is in full effect and pumpkin has successfully wedged its way into just about every drink and dish around town. If you don’t subscribe to the pumpkin craze but still want a taste of the season, here are seven cocktails full of fall flavor.
RiNo Yacht Club
Head over to the newest addition at the Source and order the Piracy on Falcon Lake. For this autumnal elixir, Mclain Hedges stirs Tapatio tequila infused with cinnamon and grapefruit, Palo Cortado sherry, Benedictine, fresh-pressed apple cider, and sorghum syrup and pours it over ice in a double old-fashioned glass. The result is a cocktail with bright, fresh flavors melded with hints of spice and nuttiness. 3350 Brighton Blvd., 720-443-1135, www.rinoyachtclub.com
Bubbles are appropriate any time of year, and that’s a philosophy LoHi SteakBar co-owner Joe Pettenger stands by. The first cocktail you see on the menu is the three-ingredient Sparkling Pear made with St. George spiced pear liqueur, lemon, and prosecco. The liqueur lends an autumn kick with a touch of cinnamon, clove, and Bartlett pear for a warm and subtle spice that complements the slightly tart Prosecco. 3200 Tejon St., 303-927-6334, www.lohisteakbar.com
Mercantile Dining & Provision
Be Here to Love Me isn’t just the name of a documentary, it’s a cocktail at Mercantile Dining & Provision. While it isn’t necessarily tagged as a fall cocktail, the drink’s elements certainly conjure up the changing of seasons. The cocktail features George Dickel Tennessee whiskey, peaches, chamomile, honey, and cherry all mixed in a jar to ferment until ordered. Do yourself a favor and nab a bite of the booze-soaked peaches it. 1701 Wynkoop St., 720-460-3733, www.mercantiledenver.com
When fall hit, the bar team at Old Major rolled out a new cocktail menu alongside chef Justin Brunson’s seasonal dinner menu. Go for the 99 Problems but a Beet Ain’t One. Two sage leaves are muddled then shaken with Spring44 Gin, Cocchi Rosa, lime juice, beet juice, and simple syrup served in a coupe with pecan sugar rim. The sugary, nutty rim combines with the cocktail’s earthy flavors to strike authentically autumnal notes on the palate. 3316 Tejon St., 720-420-0622, www.oldmajordenver.com
Centro Latin Kitchen
Kyle West at Centro Latin Kitchen rolled out a new bar menu that includes variations on classic cocktails and some fresh, new ones—like El Gringo. This fall-inspired libation mixes vanilla and orange zest–infused bourbon with ruby red grapefruit juice and spiced mulling syrup. A spear of grapefruit rind and fresh sage serve as the garnish. The balance of spirit and spice makes this cocktail an essential homage to autumn. 950 Pearl St., 303-442 7771, www.centrolatinkitchen.com
Edge Restaurant & Bar
Edge recently rolled out a revamped cocktail menu with seasonal variations on classic cocktails. One simple standout is the Killer Negroni, which uses Sombra mezcal in place of gin. The swapping of spirits results in a smoky drink that’s complemented by a bittersweet smoothness from Campari and sweet vermouth. 1111 14th St., 303-389-3343, www.edgerestaurantdenver.com
The name says it all for this slow-sipping libation. Smoke & Oak is a take on the classic Martinez cocktail. Gin, sweet vermouth, Campari, maraschino liqueur, and angostura bitters are combined and aged in oak barrels then poured over one large house-smoked ice cube. As the ice cube melts into the oaky elixir, its smoky essence adds depth and warmth to each sip.
1422 Larimer St., 720-524-8050, www.russellssmokehouse.com