Fall appeals to all kinds of vices: artificial pumpkin flavoring, chainsaw murder movies, hiding weight gain under layers and layers and layers of trendy clothing; but one of the best vices for the blissful blip before Winter freezes our collective souls is drinking. Sweet drinks, warm drinks, funky drinks, strong drinks. The glory days of watery beer and limey, bubbly cocktails have had their day in the sun; it’s time to get to some real, honest heavy drinking.
Below, Nitehawk’s beverage team of Matt Walker and Nick Dodge take us through some of the highlights of the new cocktails on offer at Nitehawk’s bar, Lo-Res. Some are fruity, some are beety, all of them are named for dollar bin VHS tapes.
Ballast Point Barrel Aged Rum, pistachio orgeat, Beet Syrup, fresh lime, black walnut bitters
It’s hard for me to imagine The Siberian Bull drinking a cocktail, but when I think of beets I think of Russia, and when I think of Russia, obviously I think of Ivan Drago. In this application the beet syrup tastes more fruity than earthy, so this cocktail ends up being much more accessible than it sounds. We’re making Pistachio milk in house, then making the orgeat from that, but to be honest, the pistachio milk is so good on its own I end up drinking most of it before we even make the orgeat. -MW
Breuckelen Barrel Aged Gin, St. Germain, pink peppercorn syrup, lactic acid, egg white
I have always enjoyed a good gin sour, which is basically a ramos gin fizz without the fizz, and I am in love with Breuckelen Barrel Aged Gin. The juniper is very mild and the citrus peel, baking spices, and vanilla really shine through. Unfortunately, the subtlety of the botanicals can be overpowered by a heavy mix of citrus so lactic acid is the perfect solution for this. It creates the sour profile without altering the flavor of the drink. Only a few drops are needed, so the spirit is not diluted, allowing it to be the star of the drink. Elder-flower and pepper from the other ingredients round it out. It is subtle and complex and just a little weird. -ND
Anderson Valley Holy Gose, cardamom syrup, cranberry, Hayman’s Old Tom Gin
Gose is a sour wheat beer style that originated in Germany. They’re very tart, so traditionally the Germans will add a fresh fruit syrup, like raspberry, to balance out the tartness. My idea for this cocktail was to do something similar to those traditionalist Germans, but with more cold weather flavors, hence the cardamom and cranberry.
I have a dramatically unhealthy relationship with cold weather, and I use it as an excuse to embrace my inner urban hermit, spending altogether too much time day drinking in dark rooms. I added just a touch of Old Tom Gin to bump up the alcohol slightly and give it a little complexity, but this is still a lower ABV cocktail, so I would like to take this opportunity to invite any and all readers to drink ten to twenty of them in a dark room with me. -MW
Laird’s Apple Brandy, rooibos chai infused Vida Mezcal, ginger syrup, quince, fresh lemon
Pome fruits, spice, smoke, dried leaves; you get it, this is a fall cocktail. These flavors belong together, and this drink belongs in my hand. I’ll have another… -ND
All Photos by Irene Yoo.