Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard

Hubbard Grille

It’s hard not to hear the phrase “pumpkin-flavored cocktail” and not get a touch grossed out. Sure it’s fall and all, but usually the one respite we get from the annual squash onslaught is in the cocktail realm, a classic arena that typically doesn’t stoop to such tropes.

Of course, there’s the team at the Hubbard Grille, where Jenn Schindler and her talented bartenders are mixing autumnal and artisanal deftly – enough to even making a pumpkin-based cocktail work.

It’s not the only drink that backs up the “legendary” claim in their annual fall Legendary Cocktail menu. For the last four years, the Short North establishment has been running a unique community interaction wherein the bar concocts a creative cocktail menu, then lets patrons suggest names for the new drinks, and a panel of Columbus personalities pick the ones most apt/creative.

Stop by Hubbard on October 15, where each cocktail will receive its final moniker, and the winning entries will earn a $50 gift card and their creator’s name will be printed on Hubbard’s fall cocktail menu.

In the meanwhile, here’s what you’ll be imbibing:

Drink No. 1

For those who like it fresh and zesty…

Even while looking forward to the turning leaves and sweater weather, it’s customary in Ohio to cling to those last days of summer, and this drink is the perfect way to straddle that line between seasons (in your mind). Belvedere Pink Grapefruit Vodka shaken with house-made rosemary simple syrup served with a prosecco float and a sprig of rosemary results in a clear cocktail with a warming quality.

Drink No. 2

For those who didn’t know they liked gin…

Often times, that category claims a lot of us, which is where Grandview’s Watershed comes in to change your mind. Its Four Peel Gin is the star of this drink but comes without diva demands. Mixed with ginger-infused honey simple syrup, a muddled orange, and a dash of cranberry juice, it’ll quickly change your mind (about gin), as well as your sobriety level.

Drink No. 3

For those who need a pick-me-up…

My preconceived notions about cocktails (see above) often betray my tongue, because if not for this piece, we’d be unlikely to order any drink featuring coffee flavors and rum, that oft-dismissed spirit of the classic set. And, I’ll admit, it takes a little getting used to them swimming around in the same snifter with orange bitters, served on the rocks, but it’s enough to keep us sipping.

Drink No. 4

For those who feel like fall…

We know these aren’t being named officially yet, but this here is the Belle of the Fall. Evan Williams mixed with house-made spiced pumpkin puree and Ohio maple syrup (that’s a LOT of fall) shaken, then served on the rocks — ends up like an autumn Manhattan. Finally someone has figured out a way to invite pumpkin to the party without pumpkin getting all outta control and ruining everything. A legendary feat, indeed.