The Autumn Elixir: A Cool Cocktail For Fall

When the temperatures finally dropped last week, many Houstonians probably sighed with relief and made plans to incorporate more outdoor fun into their weekends.

I pondered how the brisker weather would affect my drink preferences, and though high temps are temporarily back, it's always a good idea to plan your drinking activities ahead of time.

In more uniformly chilly locales, you can easily enjoy piping hot beverages come late September and October. The challenge of the Texas autumn is that it's not that cold, and even when it's generally cool, random stretches of 80- to 90-degree temperatures still emerge. I find myself wanting beverages that display fall flavors but aren't heated. Not to say I want that mulled cider in the form a of a Slushie, I just desire something in between.

One terrific cocktail I've found that satisfies these requirements is the appropriately named "autumn elixir," which evokes burning leaves, early sunsets, dark berries, and all that other good fall stuff. The recipe, after the jump:

Autumn Elixir

1 1/2 ounces of Kilbeggan Irish whiskey 1/2 ounce yellow chartreuse 1/2 ounce lemon juice 3/4 ounce honey syrup 3-4 blackberries.

First, make honey syrup by combing equal parts honey and warm water. In a shaker, muddle blackberries with syrup. Add chartreuse, lemon, and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled coupe glass. (Or a room-temperature mug if you're having that kind of day.) Garnish with blackberries if desired.

Created by Anna Walsh, the autumnal elixir uses whiskey from Kilbeggan, the oldest continuously operating distillery in Ireland (boozin' since 1757). Although I have a soft spot for nineteenth-century shops, I have to respect Kilbeggan for churning out whiskey almost two decades before we Yanks even declared our independence from Great Britain.

In comparison to other whiskeys I've tasted, Kilbeggan proffers less smoke and peat and stronger notes of maple and honey. It's not as sweet as Two Gingers, but IS still mild enough to use as a mixer without fear of overpowering the other ingredients. I look forward to mixing it with apple cider, persimmons or cinnamon.

One final thing: You may be wondering if the Kilbeggan I used was aged since 1757. God, I wish. Believe me, if I had 256-year-old whiskey I wouldn't be using it for a Monday happy hour.

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Joanna O'Leary