The recent cold has snapped Buffalo's hardiest citizens back to reality: summer is waning and autumn will soon be upon us.
As the leaves change and spirits begin to fill the air, the city’s distillers have given us barrels of fall-flavored spirits to fill our glasses.
Sato Brewpub's Fuji apple vodka
110 Pearl St.
On Sept. 16, Sato Brewpub celebrated its first anniversary as part of Buffalo Beer Week. One of the Queen City’s most innovative breweries has joined forces with Lockhouse Distillery to create its first spirit, Fuji apple vodka. Just in time to warm bellies as the breeze begins to cool, Fuji's seasonal release is well-timed.
Black Button Distilling's apple pie moonshine
149 Swan St.
With more apple and less bite, Black Button Distilling's apple pie moonshine is a caramel apple dessert in a one-liter bottle. This award-winning offering from the Rochester distiller is available at the bustling Swan Street tasting room.
A pleasant blend of Black Button’s corn whiskey, upstate apple cider, cinnamon and vanilla, apple pie moonshine is equally enjoyable on its own, over ice or blended in a cocktail - the Black Button website even offers cocktail suggestions for the sweet spirit.
Buffalo Distilling's apple brandy
860 Seneca St.
Buffalo Distilling Company boasts the city’s first bourbon distillery, but didn’t stop there. The OFC line of apple brandies are the perfect nip to take the nip out of the air. Every grain and apple that goes into producing the brandy is locally sourced, and the Larkinville distillery is a must-visit.
Fermented apples from Smith’s Orchard are stilled and aged in NYS oak. The OFC aged apple brandy (THE original humdinger!) is smooth, smoky and sweet, like a sugared, grilled apple. You can pick up the humdinger at neighborhood stores, but a visit to the distillery is highly recommended. Live music and a fantastic cocktail menu top the long list of reasons to head to Larkinville this fall.
Lockhouse Distillery's barreled gin
41 Columbia St.
Cobblestone District's Lockhouse Distillery has produced top-notch spirits for years, but they really hit a home run with their barreled gin. Its highest accolade was Double Gold at the 2016 Farm to Shaker tasting event, presented by Taste of New York and the Rochester Cocktail Revival.
At the same competition, the spirit won Best in Class for gins and Best in Show. With a nose of lavender and a distinct ginger flavor, the Lockhouse creation is fantastic on its own, but is also great with club soda, or as a base for a seasonal cocktail, your favorite local fresh-pressed apple cider.
Tommyrotter's American Bourbon
500 Seneca St. No. 110
Cold cocktails are great, but when the sun sets and night brings a frost to the leaves, mulled cider is a warm companion for a night outside. Buffalo is rife with great spirit options for a steaming mug, but Tommyrotter Distillery’s American Bourbon lends great flavor to the spiced elixir.
Deep and dark, the bourbon gives the cider just the right amount of smoke, while playing nicely with a rich sachet of allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon. American Bourbon can be purchased at the Seneca Street distillery or at local liquor stores, where Tommyrotter frequently holds tasting events.
Check their Facebook page to find more details on their tasting events.
*Read more: 5 whiskey recommendations from local experts.