Bring on fall. New York City, in particular, thrives during these autumn months. Humidity dissipates, residents return relaxed from summer, and the city’s parks come alive in red, orange, and yellow hues. I am trying harder to embrace each season; you know, really immerse myself and dive into everything it has to offer. Fall activities abound, whether it’s enjoying foliage, watching football, picking apples or making their caramelized versions, or creating a Halloween costume that will woo and wow. One of my favorite traditions though is crafting the perfect fall cocktail.
The competition is fierce. There are countless contenders for the top cocktail spot, as detailed by Country Living, Town and Country, and Food & Wine, to name a few. Their recommendations are heavy on ciders, sangrias, and basically anything with apple. While all of those options may satisfy some palettes, I tend to lean more traditional when it comes to cocktails. My all season go-tos are martinis, manhattans (which is basically a martini anyway), and bloody marys for brunch. Otherwise I prefer my liquor neat and straight up. Why dilute something so perfectly crafted in its natural state like scotch or bourbon? Any additives should only enhance the cocktail experience. Keep the mixers in college where they belong.
With that said, fall and winter are seasons of comfort where I’d argue it’s acceptable to experiment. Strong flavors and hearty concoctions are a must. Up to this point, however, I’ve never had a signature fall drink until my wife asked me to make her the Gold Rush. It quickly claimed the poll position for fall, up there with my winter favorites – the Espresso Martini and Jamaican Eggnog.
The Gold Rush appears just as it sounds – golden. It is a variation of a classic drink too, the Whiskey Sour. That guy dates back to the 1850s and helped inspire countless contemporary favorites from the Daiquiri to the Margarita. The Whiskey Sour is composed of bourbon, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg whites (optional, but a must). The Gold Rush takes it a few steps further. While it also contains bourbon and lemon juice, it replaces the simple syrup with one ounce of equal parts honey and water, which balances out the acidity from the lemon to perfection. It also morphs the brownish color of the bourbon into a golden glow. With a lemon peel garnish to add that final piece of pizzaz, the drink serves well as the perfect fall companion.
For one serving, gather the following:
- 2oz Bourbon (I prefer Bulleit or Makers)
- 1oz Honey Syrup (equal parts honey and water)
- 3/4oz Fresh lemon juice
- Lemon peel (garnish)
- Round rock ice cubes if you have them (and in order to have a proper bar you must)
- Add all ingredients listed above into a shaker with ice (filled to the top!)
- Shake aggressively for 30 seconds
- Strain into a glass with the round rock cube resting inside
- Twist and run the garnish along the lip of the glass, and then rest it on top of the drink
So when you see the leaves transform into their autumn hues, when the air outside gains that crispy bite, and when you need that refreshing afternoon delight, mix yourself up a potion for hour, the Gold Rush. Happy rushing into fall.