Search & Distill: Seasonal Syrup’s In Order

As the temp turns cold, Seattleites inevitably turn to comfort food and drink.

Seattleites are nothing if not seasonally affected when it comes to food and drink. As evidence, not only are we one of the largest port markets in the country, we're also one of the biggest consumers of ice cream. In September, as we shift to fall, the pull toward something refreshing begins to be outweighed by the push for something strong.The tawny flavors of caramel and maple come to mind this time of year. Use maple syrup instead of honey or sugar when making your simple syrup at home. Be prudent with it, as the taste and smell of maple can go a very long way. (Just ask Scotch giant Macallan, whose flash-in-the-pan maple liqueur, Amber, barely survived one winter.) Use that syrup in any brown drink that calls for a little sweetening, especially a whiskey sour (whiskey, lemon, sugar, egg white). Maple teamed with whiskey is a natural, but the egg white is an unbelievable flavor-delivery system. If you really want to go for the epitome of fall flavors and a drop-dead aroma, buy a cheap bottle of Laird's Applejack to throw in the mix.Rum goes from summer to fall with the pop of a top—or maybe you've already pegged the Dark-'n'-Stormy as the omni-seasonal Seattle cocktail. Just make sure you start with fine, aged rum and a worthy ginger ale—and don't forget a lime to aid against scurvy and swine flu. Rum and tonic, rum and cider, rum and spiced tea—the spirit has always felt more fireside than poolside to me.But nothing braces against cooler temps like the snap of ginger. Choose an extra-spicy ginger ale as a mixer to add to anything—like a simple vodka cranberry—or let it draw out a fresh, potent daiquiri for a few more sips. At Bathtub Gin in Belltown (2205 Second Ave.), bartenders mess with my quintessential summer cocktail, the Negroni, by adding a healthy dose of ginger ale. Embarrassingly, I've only ever toyed with the drink's components (gin, sweet vermouth, Campari), and never thought it would benefit from anything added. But the ginger ale manages to come through these pungent ingredients, and appropriately mellows out what I normally love about the invigoratingly mouth-raking effect of this drink in the heat.If you're not in the mood to play home mixologist, Moshi Moshi Sushi in Ballard (5324 Ballard Ave.) has a cocktail menu littered with fall-appropriate drinks, with a large dose of those made from rye and variously infused bourbons. It's the Jubei cocktail here that vies for the title of Miss Congeniality. Applejack combined with apple, rum, ginger, and lime make a potent drink that doesn't beat you over the head with fall spices. Instead, it whispers autumn, like the first time you notice an extra chill in the air or catch a whiff of your neighbor's apple tree.msavarino@seattleweekly.com

 
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