Food & Drink

Fall cocktails mix darker liquors with cinnamon and spice

Larkspur manager James Chesick says he likes to serve customers drinks with flavors like apple and anise during the fall.
Larkspur manager James Chesick says he likes to serve customers drinks with flavors like apple and anise during the fall. The Wichita Eagle

When the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, adult beverages tend to get darker.

Now is the time of year when bartenders at restaurants and bars start planning the transition from a crowd craving Cosmos and ice-cold beer to ones asking for hot buttered rums, toddies and Irish coffees.

At Larkspur, manager James Chesick is a master of the fall cocktail. He learned how to make them from his mother, who also had a career as a bartender. She could always come up with a warm concoction to cure whatever ailed her children.

“Fall to me means flavors like apple, pumpkin spice, nutmeg and anise,” he said.

Chesick has several fall cocktails in his recipe collection, including a pumpkin spice martini made with a puree that can be prepared in large batches and stored in the refrigerator until it’s time to shake the next round.

He also loves his holiday punch recipe, which tastes like a Red Hot in a glass and can be served either cold in a martini glass or warm in an Irish coffee glass. The drink has a rich, deep red color.

At the Ambassador Hotel’s Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, the bar staff also is preparing for the transition to a fall drink menu.

It will include similar drinks as Larkspur’s, including hot toddies and hot buttered rums.

Bartender Chris Zollman also invented a rich fall drink made with a puree as its base.

His has layers of flavors, including pineapple roasted with cayenne pepper, and pumpkin puree.

A sweet rim on the martini glass, which is a mixture of sugar, cinnamon and ground cloves, gives the drink a big fall flavor.

“When it starts to cool off, I think of whiskeys and rums and even dark tequila,” Zollman said. “I like to work them in with fall flavors of clove and cinnamon and even pumpkin.”

The following are a few fall cocktail recipes Chesick and Zollman agreed to share:

Jack’s Holiday Punch

Makes 1 drink

1 1/2 oz. Jack Daniel’s whiskey

1/2 oz cinnamon syrup

4 oz. cranberry juice

For cold drink: Put all ingredients in martini shaker with ice and shake. Pour into martini glass and garnish with mint springs. For hot drink, combine ingredients in a sauce pan and heat. Serve in Irish coffee glass with mint springs.

Provided by: James Chesick, manager at Larkspur

Honey Clove Martini

Makes 1 drink

1/2 pineapple, cored and sliced

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 oz. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey


Ground cinnamon


Ground cloves

Fresh sage leaf

Maraschino cherry

First, make a puree. Place pineapple pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkling with cayenne pepper and roasting until caramelized under a broiler, flipping once. (About 10-15 minutes.) Put pineapple in a blender with pumpkin and nutmeg and blend until smooth.

To make drink, put 1/2 cup of puree in a martini shaker with Jack Daniels Honey and ice. Shake and pour into glass rimmed with a cinnamon, sugar, clove bend. Garnish with a toothpick speared with a folded sage leaf and maraschino cherry.

Provided by: Chris Zollman, bartender at Sienna Tuscan Steakhouse

Pumpkin & Spice Martini

1 can pureed pumpkin

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

4 oz. cream cheese

3 oz. half-and-half

1 1/2 ounce Catdaddy Spiced Moonshine

Graham cracker crumbs

Prepare puree by blending first eight ingredients in a blender until smooth. Extra puree can be stored in the refrigerator. To make one drink, put two tablespoons of puree and the spiced moonshine into a martini shaker filled with ice. Add another splash of half-and-half. Shake well. Pour into a martini grass rimmed with graham cracker crumbs.

Provided by: James Chesick, manager at Larkspur