For many, autumn means back to school or back to the office: an in-person reality for many this year in particular and one reason, we suspect, for a glut of new openings around Midtown and the Financial District. It also means a fresh crop of new bars and restaurants, ready to host post-work happy hours, brainstorming meetings, and every stripe of after-hours revelry.
Already, we’re starting to think about what the unofficial “drink of autumn 2023” might look like, since fall brings out the overachiever in everyone. After a summer of bright flavors and whimsical formats, we’re betting this season’s cocktails will steer toward bolder flavors and dark spirits, such as the nutty, Sazerac-inspired Creole at Alligator Pear, made with a double dose of bourbon and rum. For sure, we see glimmers of the can’t-stop-won’t-stop espresso martini in new caffeinated variations like The Boardroom’s Café Negroni and cardamom-accented No Sleep ‘Til at Unlisted, the rooftop bar above Freeman Alley on the Lower East Side. And the mad scientists in the room are ready to challenge with creative cocktails like a fish sauce-spiked clarified cocktail at Singlish, or popcorn-infused rum at Jac’s on Bond.
Wherever autumn takes you, our shortlist of fall cocktails and where to get them offers plenty to sample as the season turns.
P.S. Check out our guides to places with some of the best zero-proof cocktails, and the best bar food, as well as our guide to Queer-led bars and restaurants throughout the city. And if it still feels like summer to you, here’s our list to the drinks of the summer, too.