Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard

Sip and Stitch: Fall Cocktails

Fall is ending, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

Beautiful golden and crimson leaves are falling from the trees and will soon be rotting under snowdrifts as you hole up under a blanket and binge watch the last episodes of Luke Cage that you’ve been putting off. As it slips away and the cold clutches of winter begin to descend on Columbus, if you’re like me, there are two things you are going to miss more than any other autumnal delight.

No, not pumpkin pie. That’s a once a year kinda thing.

And not apple picking. You never use all those apples you pick, anyways.

No, the two things I’ll miss most of all are sweaters and booze, and specifically the combination of the two.

Below I have outlined three fall cocktails I plan to revisit before the season ends—and the sweaters I plan to wear while drinking them. These are not the end-all be-all of cocktails or sweaters, so feel free to improvise and discover what works best for you. Just don’t do something embarrassing like wearing a turtleneck while sipping a ginger toddy. Can you imagine?

Nice Threads

available at Curio • 495 S Fourth St.

2 oz. Saffron infused Beefeater Gin

2/3 oz. Toasted coriander honey

2/3 oz. Lemon

1/2 oz. Kina L’Avion D’Or

2/3 oz. Aquafaba

Dusted with toasted coriander and saffron

It’s as if Curio knew that some idiot would be writing a cocktail and sweater pairings article and named the drink in preparation. The Nice Threads cocktail was created by Curio bartender Ben Griest as a submission to a Beefeater Gin competition, and it’s a winner in my book. The scent of the toasted coriander and saffron is like that incredible smell when the last humid dying breaths of summer start slowly dissipating into the cooler fall air. This drink calls for a standard collar cardigan, preferably fine gauge knit, and a solid color. You don’t want to go with anything too busy here, as the drink is already complex enough.

The coriander honey softens the bitter wormwood and cinchona bark flavors in Kina L’Avion D’Or, allowing the complex spices to shine. There’s really no room for stripes or patterns of any sort. I would allow a decorative button, but something subtle. The worst thing you could do here would be to mess it up and go with a shawl collar cardigan. This is not the drink for a substantial collar, as the Aquafaba—a vegan substitute to egg whites typically made from chickpeas—is already substantial enough, giving the drink a beautiful mouthfeel and providing the foam on which the wonderfully scented dusting sits.

Lucas Lush

Strongwater Food and Spirits • 401 W Town St.

1 1/2 oz. OYO Stone Fruit Vodka

1/2 oz. Fresh lemon juice

1/2 oz. House made ginger syrup

1 Dash. Fee Brothers Whisky Barrel Aged Bitters

Top with Prosecco

Garnished with a thin orange flash

An often overlooked fall category is the “crisp” cocktail featuring sparkling wine or cider that so perfectly pairs with the autumn air. The Lucas Lush uses sparkling wine, but ends up emulating a more nuanced version of dry sparkling cider. The addition of OYO Stone Fruit vodka lends beautiful notes of apricot, cherry, honey, and almond that beg to be experienced in a chunky cable knit number. The look and the feeling you’re going for is best described as ruggedly handsome dude on the show Deadliest Catch, but like the second season, before they became reality TV celebrities. The lemon provides just enough acidity, and the ginger syrup brings a bit of sweet. The prosecco dries everything out, leaving a clean crisp finish like the ocean breeze blowing against your faded hunter green sweater as you leave Dutch Harbor for what might be your biggest haul yet.

Maple Staples

Harvest Bar & Kitchen • 2885 N High St.

1 1/2 oz. Old Granddad Bonded Bourbon

3/4 oz. Sage infused Ohio maple syrup

1/2 oz. Lemon

4 dash Angostura bitters

Garnished with a sage leaf

If you’re looking for an elegant and luscious instant classic, then the Maple Staples will certainly take you there. It is a simple, four-ingredient drink that is much greater than the sum of it’s parts. The mix of assertive 100-proof bourbon, tamed by sage-infused maple syrup, fresh lemon, and Angostura bitters is refined, understated, and dignified, and it deserves an equally noble sweater—like the bold striped blanket sweater from Woolrich that I almost bought at Tigertree last week. It’s the type of drink that transports you to a simpler time and place long passed, one that calls for a garment with a rich history—and a sweater from a nearly 200 year old company certainly fits the bill. Feel free to swap in any heritage American brand here: Filson or Pendleton will do just fine. Just don’t be reckless and show up wearing something from Sonoma or Merona.

Have some respect.