Eat & Drink This Tonight: Fall cocktails and soups 

Rattlesnakes, lemon bitters, and egg-drop soup

With the torrential downpour this week, you've probably got liquids on the mind. That's fine, in fact, if you want to have your dinner and drink it too, we're covering a variety of new soups and cocktails restaurants are unveiling. Luckily, you can leave the kayak at home, as street flooding is hopefully ceased by now.

The folks at The Gin Joint on East Bay Street are preparing their fall drink menu, which they hope to unveil before next weekend. In the meantime, the Joint is offering a taste of the fall harvest with the Rattlesnake. The recipe is culled from a 1930s cocktail book, claiming the drink will "either cure a rattlesnake bite, kill rattlesnakes, or make you see them." The drink is composed of rye whiskey, absinthe, egg white, and lemon.

"The rye whiskey is essential," says bartender and owner Joe Raya. "It's the quintessential American whiskey that makes the drink historically accurate. The taste of the grain is more pronounced, giving it a spiciness reminiscent of fall."

Be on the lookout for the Gin Joint's upcoming fall menu, which will include tequila with hickory-smoked honey, a pumpkin-infused aquavit, a bacon-infused Canadian whiskey and maple syrup cocktail, and homemade cider. "Even in a town where people wear shorts on Christmas, once the holiday season rolls around, people crave those flavors," Raya assures us.

FIG is also premiering some drinks for the harvest season. Mixologist Brooks Reitz is excited about their new lemon bitters drink, which offers a taste of home. "Roasting seems like a very comforting thing, so I wanted to incorporate roasting in our drinks this season."

Reitz begins by roasting apples with cinnamon and allspice, then purees the mixture. He then serves it with Woodford Reserve bourbon, lemon juice, and lemon bitters. The lemon brightens the fall flavors, adding a little bit of zest.

Starting tonight and continuing through the entire month, Circa 1886 is kicking off a new program called "5 for 5 at 5." From 5 to 7 p.m., patrons can choose from a choice of five wines, five martinis, and five cocktails, all for $5 apiece. The wine list varies nightly, but guests can choose from sparking, white, or red wines. Martini flavors include lemondrop, grapefruit and basil, pomegranate, sweet tea, and raspberry cosmo. The cocktail choices are quite summery, including strawberry mojitos, mint julip, a refreshing gin and cucumber soda, honeysuckle with bourbon, and wildflower honey with fresh lemon juice.

If you'd rather have something to warm your belly, you might want to think about some fall soups.

Eva Keilty, chef at Ted's Butcherblock, recently unveiled October's specials. Flavors include potato broccoli sour cream, a spicy Southwestern, and fennel under ricotta, but Keilty recommends her personal favorite, the butternut squash bisque. "We originally made it to pair with Bear Republic Brewery's Racer 5 IPA, but kept it around." The soup consists of apples, onions, cream, corn stock, and of course squash, all of which match well with the IPA's hoppy notes.

In preparation for the cooler weather, Nate Whiting at Tristan has cooked up a spicy piquillo soup. "I've constantly used piquillos in my dishes, but I really wanted to use them as the centerpiece of a dish," Whiting says. Whiting starts with the imported Spanish pepper and adds hints of orange juice, Pernod cream, pine nuts, and chives. The Pernod cream lends licorice notes to the dish, but Whiting is sure not to overwhelm: "I'm very much an elementalist," he says. "I focus on ingredients that enhance the flavor, not mask it." Whiting also recommends the butter-poached Maine lobster. The colder water results in sweeter meat, which the chef pairs with a carrot puree.


Chef Robert Carter at Peninsula Grill is serving up a unique fusion soup. "I wanted to do an egg-drop soup, but I also wanted to give it a Southern twist," Carter says. The result is an egg-drop soup with country ham and collard greens. The stock-based soup also includes mushrooms and Vidalia onions. Carter was also excited about an entire lamb the restaurant recently received. For a limited time, Peninsula is offering a lamb tasting dish, which comes with pan-seared loin, grilled chops, and braised shoulder, with sides of rosemary potatoes and garlic braised greens.

Pearlz chef Victoria Neikirk's new dish originated by chance. Taking advantage of the last of the tomato season and wanting to create something different, Neikirk was originally making a vinaigrette dressing that she ended up liking so much she turned it into a soup. Slightly adjusting the ingredients, the result was a roasted golden tomato gazpacho, garnished with a grilled shrimp salad and avocado. Neikirk suggests getting some of the stone crab claws the restaurant just received, which she steams, chills, and serves with a simple mustard sauce. And the best part? They come pre-cracked, so you can eat 'em fast.



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