Fall cocktails abound on menus around town but leave it to the artful hands behind the bar at Alembic to create a savory pumpkin drink (pumpkin being my most beloved taste of Fall).
Their Pumpkin V. 3.14 ($11) is made with Old Pogue bourbon, Old World Spirits walnut liqueur (which I recently wrote about in the Guardian’s FEAST food & drink issue), pumpkin juice (I watched them squeezing fresh juice from pumpkins), a tiny splash of mezcal and fresh grated nutmeg. Earthy, nutty, bright with the orange squash, this is a sophisticated drinkers’ Fall imbibement…
For the second time I attended a special single malt tasting on 11/10 with Whiskies of the World Expo and Signatory, an independent bottler of rare single malts who hand-selects single casks from Scotch distilleries. These cask strength scotches are often unchilled and unfiltered, sold as unique expressions only through Signatory. In the swank City Club space, we sipped seven scotches (and one Blood & Sand cocktail) with hors d’ouevres robust enough to pair with scotch, like bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo.
Though there wasn’t a bad sip among them, I’ve highlighted my three favorites with tasting notes:
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– Kilchoman, 92 proof , Islay – I’m already a fan of the young but full-bodied Kilchoman, having written about it months before its release; I was delighted with this bracing, cask strength expression which had a hint of the earthy slate of a mezcal, plus a whisper of fire, especially with accompanying beef appetizer; $80
– Edradour 10 yr, 86 proof, Highland – Another brand I’ve enjoyed for years from the smallest distillery in Scotland, Edradour‘s special bottling evolved as the evening wore on; initially tasting of sweet earth, dried fruit, nuts, it took on caramel spice notes reminiscent of a rich bourbon as I continued to sip; $60
– Highland Park, 18yr, 92 proof , Orkney
– Auchentoshan, 10 yr, 92 proof, Lowland
– Cragganmore, 92 proof, Speyside
– Ben Nevis, 18yr, cask strength, 112 proof, Highland – A surprising sweetness on the nose shows up in the raisin, sherry-like finish but spice, earthiness, balance it out; mellows as it rests; $150
You can purchase any of these through The Whiskey Shop on Sutter Street…