Techniques

Grown-up Fall Flavors at Mace in NYC

An orange cocktail, garnished with a dehydrated carrot.
At Mace in New York City, cocktails like Ginger feature complex, interesting and unexpected fall flavors. Photos by Wendy Rose Gould.

As we settle into autumn, you’ll be hard pressed to stroll through the streets – or scroll through your social media feeds – without hearing mention of pumpkin-spice-something-or-other. There’s no shame to be had in a PSL or pumpkin pie itself, but we wanted to go beyond the pumpkin spice this fall and bring you flavor combinations that are less expected. What better place to go than NYC’s MACE Cocktail Bar, which specializes specifically in spices?

As luck would have it, our recent visit to MACE, nestled in the East Village’s Alphabet City, happened to be the same day they were switching over to their freshly crafted and curated fall drink menu. We sat down with head bartender, Christian Dominguez, who made us two very special cocktails and gave us the detailed ingredient rundown on each.

Ginger

The first thing you notice about this drink – aside from its orange hue and the unexpected dehydrated carrot garnish – is its ability to deliver both a citrusy punch and that traditional, underlying warmth that’s expected from a fall beverage. It’s zippy, comforting and multi-faceted.

Nico de Soto, MACE’s co-owner, describes the cocktail as “a spicy and earthy twist on a Stone Fence,” and we say it tastes like a spiked version of your favorite childhood autumn memories.

What’s in it: Carrot acid (made with freshly pressed carrot juice and tartaric and malic acid – basically a replacement for a citrus to add depth and zing), ginger-maple syrup and marshmallow-milk washed Evan Williams White Label Bourbon. It’s then topped with Aval cider and garnished with a dehydrated carrot.

A frothy cocktail in a coupe glass. The Cassia cocktail features flavors of cassia, banana, sherry and chai, with egg white and brown rice orgeat to contribute a smooth and satisfying frothiness. Cassia

Cassia is a type of cinnamon from southeastern Asia, and though it is used sparingly in this drink, it is certainly a shining star. Compared to the Ginger cocktail above, this drink has a richer, more velvety mouthfeel, but it still retains a sense of brightness that adds undeniable pep to your palette.

That brightness comes from the dry fruits and spices, while the egg white, banana, sherry and chai-infused rye counterbalance with a rich warmth. In a nutshell: it tastes like a creamy, boozy fall dessert, but it definitely won’t put you to sleep.

What’s in it: Masala chai-infused Rittenhouse Rye whiskey, egg white to make it frothy, lemon juice to brighten, brown rice orgeat, Giffard banana liqueur and oloroso sherry. There’s also a light dusting of cassia sprinkled on top.

While de Soto says that pumpkin could seamlessly sneak its way into both of these above cocktails and still taste amazing, these drinks instead highlight autumn flavors via stone fruits and earthy spices. Each offers a complex, nuanced flavor story and are as fresh on the palette as they are authentically autumn. We recommend a visit to MACE as soon as you’re able to try these two, as well as the bar’s other offerings.

Wendy Rose Gould is a freelance lifestyle reporter and photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona. From Tel Aviv to Miami, from Prague to NYC, she enjoys sipping on well-crafted cocktails in all corners of the world.

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