Fall flavors also lend themselves to tasty cocktails—ideal complements to the right dish.
The distinct fruits and vegetables of autumn can provide the basis of a memorable mixed drink, such as Fig & Olive’s Pear Blanche ($14), made with gin, egg white and house-made pear syrup.
“We simmer pears in simple syrup with clove, cinnamon and star anise,” explains Mitchell Malnati, sommelier of the restaurant’s Meatpacking District location in New York. “Then we strain and chill the syrup.”
The egg whites add texture and frothiness, he adds. “It makes for a heavier, richer cocktail, but still lighter on the palate.”
Malnati recommends ordering the Pear Blanche with the Fig & Olive Salad ($19). This appetizer features Manchego, gorgonzola dolce, fig, apple, tomato walnut, olive, romaine, mesclun, scallion and fig balsamic Arbequina olive oil.
“The crispness of the sliced apples in this salad match well with the pear aspects of the cocktail,” Malnati says. “And the richness of the cheeses match the richness of the cocktail.”
As pumpkin is fall’s preeminent vegetable, Fig & Olive offers a Pumpkin Spice Martini, with house-infused vanilla vodka ($14). “It’s evocative of early autumn,” Malnati notes. “We garnish it with a graham-cracker crust. You can have it with dessert—or for dessert.”
Fig & Olive’s Manhattan Sour ($14), topped with a light red wine, also conveys the feeling of fall, Malnati says. The cocktail “starts as a Whiskey Sour for the first few sips, and then evolves into a Manhattan bourbon.”
Malnati suggests that diners pair the Manhattan Sour with the Chicken Tajine ($27), a Moroccan-spiced, free-range chicken served with fig olive, apricot, carrot, zucchini, cipollini onion, tomato toasted almond, couscous with cilantro and harissa hojiblanca olive oil.
“It has spice notes of clove and cinnamon,” Malnati says. “I think you can cleanse your palate with the whiskey and acidity of the Manhattan Sour.”