San Antonio may not get a pageant of gold and red foliage, but that doesn’t stop local autumnphiles from getting into the seasonal spirit. Instead of warming up their toes by the fireplace, they drape a cardigan around their shoulders and head to the bar. These five recently opened spots may still be using ice in their cocktails, but their seasonal offerings are as snug as a scarf.
Fontaine’s Southern Diner & Bar — Milk Punch
The South remains balmy much of the year, so any break in the heat becomes a celebration. Perhaps no other drink captures that festive feeling as much as milk punch. Fontaine’s version starts with tea-infused Bourbon blended with aromatics and topped with a surprise. Instead of filling the glass with opaque white, the diner uses clarified milk to give the drink a surprisingly clear color.
Ida Claire — The Breakdown
This red-hot newcomer has been packing them in since opening on October 7. While most of the cocktails are light patio slammers, this rye-based drink is ideal for snuggling indoors. Rich cognac pairs with Italian vermouth and Angostura bitters, while a house-made apple-pepper syrup adds some kick. Nurse it with Carolina barbecue crispy chicken wings for a happy hour snack.
Lilly’s Greenville — Brown Derby
Located in the heart of the historic St. Paul Square district, this warm and welcome bar keeps it classic with a menu of tried-and-true drinks. Its traditionally built Brown Derby cocktail is a case in point. The caramel notes of Bourbon makes it heady enough for sweater weather, while some citrus zing from grapefruit ensures it won’t give guests the sweats. A stir of honey holds down the fort.
Pastiche — Vineyards & Orchards
Juniper Tar may have shuttered in July 2018, but one of its best cocktails lives on at this swanky East Side bar. With its autumnal mix of Calvados brandy, Pineau des Charentes aperitif, Pommeu de Normandie, Blanc de Blanc, and apple bitters, this sipper is a tribute to the fall harvest — and a cozy alternative to apple cider drinks before the weather gives in to the winter’s chill.
RD Speakeasy — Juniper Fall
Not everyone can escape for a camping weekend, but taste of the woods is available at the Barn Door Restaurant’s hush-hush new bar. Earthy Plymouth gin brings an earthy, spiced nose while bitter grapefruit and rosemary add those sylvan flavors, but without drinkers getting lost in a forest.