By Terry Trucco
Seasonal drinks make some people squirm, but we love them. Give us a pumpkin martini, and we say Thanks(giving)! Stir in a cool story, and it tastes even better.
Which brings us to Mrs. Lilley’s Pumpkin Pie, available for a limited time, naturally, at the Crosby Street Hotel.
Richard Lilley, head barman at the Crosby Bar, credits his wife, a former bartender in Chicago’s fabled Division Street, with the creation of this spicy/creamy concoction 17 years ago.
Like many bartenders, she enjoyed inventing new drinks. One autumn, she mixed up pumpkin shots, as she called them, and served them to the other bartenders after closing time. The drink was such a hit she turned it into a cocktail.
Over the years, Lilley tweaked his wife’s creation. “I’ve served it pretty much everywhere I’ve worked,” he says, including most recently, at the Mandarin Oriental.
So what’s in it? It could be called Pumpkin Illusion because there’s no pumpkin schnapps — or pumpkin anything – in the mix. Instead, there’s Stoli Vanilla, Kahlua and Baileys Irish Cream.
Adding a few proprietary ingredients, Lilley pours it all into a martini glass rimmed with graham cracker crumbs. “Because a pie should have a crust,” he says. “Drinks have to be fun.”
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Want to toast the Big T in Times Square? The Paramount’s Library Bar serves up the Grey Goose L’Orange Pumpkin Carver. We like the snappy black and white Library Bar, complete with pool table and piano. But you can also try this one out at home:
Grey Goose L’Orange Pumpkin Carver
1 ½ parts Grey Goose L’Orange Flavored Vodka
¾ part maple syrup
½ part Canton Ginger Liqueur
1 tsp pumpkin butter
1 part fresh lemon juice
Garnish with apple chips
In a cocktail shaker add all ingredients. Add ice. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosted and beaded with sweat. Strain into martini glass and add apple chip garnish.
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The stylish South Gate Bar at Jumeirah Essex House offers four – count ‘em – autumn libations and as a bonus throws in a ground-floor Central Park view (stop by this week for maximum Technicolor leaf-viewing).
Rosemary Pear Ramble: Grey Goose La Poire Flavored Vodka, pear puree, rosemary syrup, fresh lemon juice
Burning Leaves: Diplomatic Exclusive Rum, Mezcal Tequila, agave syrup, fresh lemon juice
Big Apple Cobbler: bourbon, Berentzen’s Apple Liquor, Domaine Canton, fresh lemon juice
Dark and Orangey: bourbon, Aperol, Amaro, orange bitters