We’re still in the sweltering heat of mid-August in Kentucky, but before we know it, we’ll be flitting around town holding Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, admiring one another’s billowing scarves and carving jack-o’-lanterns. Just as I was recently shaken to find that mega-overwhelming home goods superstore At Home already has its Christmas decorations out, barkeeps and saloon proprietors are way ahead, as well, cultivating their autumnal menus to stay abreast of the industry’s latest trends. So, what can we expect to be pouring down our mouth holes this fall? I’ve got a few hot tips — and they’re fit for sweater weather.
Two years ago, my beloved dog Sunny had cancer, and I was searching feverishly for various remedies, holistic and traditional. A dear friend recommended turmeric “golden paste” to be added to her food daily, as it’s said to have cancer-fighting properties and other benefits. I made the paste as advised, using turmeric, 100-percent virgin coconut oil and black peppercorns. While I can’t say whether the golden paste helped fend off Sunny’s cancer, I’ve since been using it in my own diet for help with inflammation, its boost of antioxidants and its other magical properties. I make a killer golden smoothie with mangoes, coconut milk, turmeric, dates and honey, and, as I was enjoying my spiced, frozen concoction the other morning, I couldn’t help but think, “This would be great with booze.” Turns out, I’m not the only libation enthusiast who is on to this rich, pungent spice as a stellar cocktail ingredient, as several bartenders and creators have already begun steeping the root into their concoctions. I tried my own hand at muddling turmeric root with fresh lime and cilantro and shaking it feverishly with tequila — a riff on a delightful tamarind mojito I had in Puerto Rico last month — and I was delighted with the bold, savory and refreshing nuances the spice seemed to unearth.
I was recently dining at one of my favorite new spots, Naïve (I know, I know, I’ve talked about its boozy and healthful creations before, but those are just so delightful!), when a friend procured a CBD-infused seltzer water (or cannabidiol) to quench his thirst. I know flavored seltzer is all the rage now, but CBD-infused seltzer? My mind was blown. Turns out, Cincinnati-based Queen City Hemp makes three flavors of CBD seltzer (my friend enjoyed guava), which provide the benefits of cannabidiol in a can of effervescent goodness. Refreshing and reportedly medicinal, this sparkling goodness had to be spectacular in a spritzer. CBD-infused seltzers and smoothies are already trending — this fall, I’m thinking CBD boozies, for that calming buzz. Menu writers, take note.
Speaking of seltzer waters, I hope many of you have been enjoying all these new, spiked seltzers that have hit the market this year, because they are damn delightful (and quite affordable). For about $8.99, one can procure a six-pack of my current favorite, White Claw Hard Seltzer, which claims to be gluten-free, only 70 calories and about 6 percent alcohol per can, so you can catch that guilt-free buzz. The black cherry is my current favorite, but for fall I’m predicting a few seasonal flavors hitting the market. Spiced apple, perhaps?
These turmeric, cannabis-infused and bubbly industry trends shouldn’t discount those classic fall flavors that we all know and love. After all, falling leaves and spiced ciders are what fall is all about, right? Nicole Stipp is the cofounder of bourbon tour experience company, Matson + Gilman, and also hosts cocktail classes through Level Up Lou. Stipp is all for using innovative techniques to channel quintessential fall. “Fall is my prime toddy/cider/ginger-infused everything drink time!” she said. “I like to do an overnight bourbon and cinnamon stick and vanilla infusion that I can toss into an old-fashioned or a cup of hot tea.”
With seasonal trends, collaboration and ideas tend to meld with one another, so perhaps we’ll be perusing a new cocktail menu in Louisville this fall and find a muddled turmeric old fashioned topped with ginger-infused seltzer water.
I’m not going to lie, I’d drink it. Cheers!