Despite its summer-like days, September marks the beginning of fall. Flavors of the season start popping everywhere, and there’s a crispness in the air in many parts of the country that feels inviting. September also happens to be National Bourbon Heritage Month — the perfect time to savor those baking spice flavors and caramel colors while celebrating America’s favorite spirit.
On the cusp of the changing seasons, our drink choices were a diverse mix of fall flavors and lingering sips of summer this month at VinePair. From spiced pear seltzers and smoky cocktails to rum punches and spritzes, here are the best things we drank last month.
“Hear me out: The new pear-flavored High Noon is delightful and seasonal without trying too hard. It’s not often that a hard seltzer is memorable, but this one impressed me.” —Katie Brown, editor
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“The ‘Euterpe’ cocktail at Maison Pickle. It’s a rum punch with Cynar, lemon, chamomile tea, agave, and bitters. It was so delicious and perfect for the end of summer!” —Bobbie Thorn, account manager, brand partnerships
“The best thing I drank this month was a Merlot from the cool-climate Carneros of Napa Valley. It was from Cuvaison, which is more known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A sleeper hit, and truly a great find!” —Keith Beavers, tasting director
“No doubt the best thing I drank last month was the Papazote from Sobre Masa in Bushwick. Described as having Mezcal Unión, epazote, Vermouth, Cardamaro, yellow Chartreuse, and garnished with an olive, this take on a mezcal Martini served with a sidecar was absolutely delicious.” —Dario Foroutan, social editor
“This month I had a cocktail at Bud’s in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., that was delicious and memorable. It was called the Sinclair Oil and was smoky yet herbal, full of flavor, and delicate. I’ve never had anything like it, and enjoyed every sip! The beautiful location and stunning scenery was an added bonus to this stunning cocktail!” —Jenny Riddell, director, brand partnerships and events
“Earlier this month we talked about the resurgence of the Piña Colada on the VinePair Podcast. It’s a drink I haven’t had in a long time, never mind made one for myself. I used the recipe on the site. Having it shaken and over ice (versus frozen) was revelatory.” —Joanna Sciarrino, editor in chief
“The best thing I drank this month was by far a take on the Bee’s Knees I had at ATTABOY. I think the bartender called it a Bee’s Knees in Paradise and it was the traditional Bee’s Knees except with a bit of pineapple juice added. It also had a foamy top and creamy texture so I think it must have had an egg white in there as well, which I always love. It was so fantastic and an all-around wonderful drink and experience.” —Olivia White, editorial assistant
“I really enjoyed the Among the Sunbathers cocktail at the Apotheke NoMad! It’s a pisco-base drink with bitter melon, sweet citrus, and a delightfully light egg foam. I’m a total sucker for cute glassware too, which really sealed the deal on this drink.” ––Nicolette Baker, news writer
“The best thing I drank last month was a Rosé Lillet Spritz. I added some Prosecco for a little more sparkle and garnished it with mint leaves and cucumber. It was nice and light, and super refreshing — kind of perfect for the end of summer.” —Jessica Fields, assistant editor
“I was fortunate enough to travel to Copenhagen last month and biked my way to and from (the journey back was much harder) a lot of bars. Duck and Cover was my favorite, though, in large part thanks to a concoction of beet juice, blackberry juice, aquavit, and a bunch of herbs. It was earthy, naturally sweet, and unlike anything I had ever tasted before.” —Sylvie Baggett, branded content editor
“It’s actually embarrassing how many times I’ve been to Chez Zou over the last month to enjoy the bar’s take on the Dirty Martini. Arriving at the table in a two-chamber glass “Jarra” on ice, the “Dirty Zou” is a customizable experience that allows guest to pour their preferred proportions of olive-oil-washed vodka and grape leaf and dill brine into a perfectly chilled Nick & Nora glass. I could eat an entire jar of the hand-stuffed olives that are served on the side, and though I’ve never before been a vodka Martini drinker, this drink has absolutely won me over.” —Tim McKirdy, managing editor