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Jonathan Lind sipping a cocktail
Wondercade's bartender Jonathan Lind!
Jonathan Lind

Whisk(e)y Drinks to Celebrate Autumn

Fall back, plan ahead

Jonathan Lind is a NYC-based bartender, founding Bar Director at Crown Shy, and has worked at celebrated establishments like Eleven Madison Park.

August 29, 2023 4:09 pm

Our wondrous Wondercade house bartender Jonathan Lind is back to help us fill those get-togethers with some beautiful beverages. He’s got two fabulous cocktail recipes for this time of year — one that’s a classic, and one that’s a reinvention of a classic — PLUS, a spirit-free version. Excellent. -NPH

Jonathan Lind here, back again to share another mixology moment. After what seemed like an eternal summer, the weather here in New York City (home to Wondercade HQ; our house bar sits on the 47th floor, with sweeping views and comfy leather banquettes) is finally turning autumnal, which means we can all break out those smart leather jackets we’ve been waiting to wear. Of course, this being New York, we have about two weeks of leather-jacket weather, and then it’s parkas for four straight months.

But the best — and I mean best — part of fall is that we can once again start focusing on one of my favorite categories: whiskey! Or whisky. I’m not picky. Whiskey is an incredible spirit. (Pro tip: “Whisky” refers to the stuff straight from Scotland — where they love haggis and dislike superfluous vowels in equal measure.) The hallmarks for U.S. whiskeys are notes of vanilla, caramel, toasted oak, green apple and spice. Very seldomly do spirits taste like carbon copies of their tasting notes, but with a little imagination, and a bit of convincing, you get a reasonable facsimile of those flavors and aromas — and that gives us a great jumping off point for our two cocktails.

Now before you ask, I’m not going to tell you what particular whiskey to buy. It’s far too difficult and personal a choice! I might adore a dram of something that would make you retch, or worse, cause you to buy it all and thus leave my bar cart empty! But with the holiday season upcoming, and the glorious tradition of giving booze as gifts, I thought I might help you do away with last year’s haul with a few handy recipes.

Yellow cocktail in martini glass
Whiskey + lemon + honey = liquid bliss. Or gold bliss, in this case.

The Gold Rush

The Gold Rush cocktail is generally accepted to be a concoction of the bar team at Milk & Honey, a renowned — and sadly closed — cocktail bar whose closest currently operating relative is a bar in Manhattan’s Lower East Side called Attaboy. That’s not any sort of endorsement, just a fun fact. What makes the Gold Rush so delicious is that its honey and lemon flavors complement whiskey’s vanilla, caramel and apple spice notes…just as though it were an apple pie, but in liquid form. It’s simple to make, and a great way to burn through last year’s gift from that guy at work who doesn’t know much about you but managed to draw your name in the company Secret Santa, and gave you a decent bottle of whiskey.

The Gold Rush

Servings: 1

Copy Ingredients

  • 2 oz. whiskey. Pro tip: If you’re not intimately familiar with all the bottles in your home bar, you should probably hop online to make sure you aren’t making drinks out of something exceedingly rare or expensive that might be better consumed on its own. 
  • ¾ oz. lemon juice. It’s gotta be fresh. Lemon juice should only see the sun once, so if you juice it in the morning, throw it out before bed. Or use it for cooking or something the next day.
  • ¾ oz. honey syrup: two parts honey to one part hot water. I recommend making a batch using a standard 8 oz. bottle of honey (8 oz. honey to 4 oz. hot water). Combine it and store it in a squeeze bottle or a mason jar — whatever you have on hand. Honey syrup can be stored in the fridge for a couple weeks.

Copy Directions

    1. Combine your whiskey, lemon juice and honey in a cocktail shaker.

    2. Fill the shaker with ice, close it up and shake it like it’s the last piece of Halloween candy hiding at the bottom of your goody bag! 

    3. Double strain into a chilled coupe and serve.

SPIRIT-FREE VERSION: For those among you who aren’t imbibing, there are several extremely interesting non-alcoholic whiskeys out there that you can use instead! This is a great resource. Alternatively, you can use 2 oz. of high-quality apple juice, though it will definitely be a bit sweeter, so adjust your honey syrup to taste.

Dark-colored drink in lowball glass
The scotch negroni: Autumnally colored, universally delicious

Scotch Negroni

As far as I know there is no known (disputed or otherwise) origin for a Scotch Negroni, though you may have heard of the American whiskey version, the Boulevardier. Admittedly this is a slightly more “adult” adult beverage, with Scotch being a potentially aggressive spirit, and the remaining vermouth and Campari being none-too-quaffable, but I assure you when properly made, it’s a beautiful drink. Unlike the Gold Rush that complements whiskey’s notes, this Scotch Negroni serves to bring out the contrasts between the peaty whisky and the sweet vermouth and Campari. 

Scotch Negroni

Servings: 1

Copy Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz. Scotch whisky. Again, use your judgment/research. A blended whisky is always a good option here. I would recommend avoiding Islay and Campbeltown styles unless you have an existing (and loving) relationship with the smokier elements of Scotch.
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth. I figure this might be something else you have on your bar cart (or better, in your fridge — yes, put your vermouth in the fridge!), and as the Sbagliato seemed to be the cocktail hit of the summer, you might not know what to do with it now that the seasons have moved on. Adding to that is the reality that vermouth is wine based, and wine can’t sit around forever once it’s opened.
  • 1 oz. Campari. As with the vermouth, this is a staple of most home bars. Unlike vermouth, however, it is significantly less prone to spoilage.

Copy Directions

    1. Combine all your ingredients in a stirring vessel and fill with ice. 

    2. Stir until the sound coming from the vessel is similar to that of a babbling brook in mid-April. In Idaho. Northeastern Idaho. Oh, I’m sorry, did you want an exact amount of rotations? Well unfortunately knowing when a drink is properly chilled and diluted is really the product of years of practice, so I am unable to provide you that information through print! The good news is, even a drink that’s been “ruined” is still very drinkable! And for what it’s worth, once you get the hang of it, you’ll totally be able to recognize the sound I was just describing. 

    3. Strain into a rocks glass with a nice big piece of ice, garnish with an orange twist and enjoy!

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