Where to drink
Autumn often gets lost between long hot summers and the countdown to Christmas. But with consistently cool weather finally here and a couple weeks left in November to enjoy it, the time is right to sip something spirited and fall-spiced. Think rich bourbons, buttered rums, and flavors of pear and pumpkin. Throw on a sweater and check off these five Fort Worth bars for the best of fall cocktails.
Lockwood Distilling Co. Fort Worth
Celebrating its one-year anniversary since opening a location in Fort Worth, this Richardson-based distillery boasts its own portfolio of spirits. The lineup includes gin, straight bourbon whiskey, hibiscus flavored vodka, an array of rums, and the sweater weather fan-favorite bourbon cream liqueur (try it in coffee). All spirits are available for purchase by the bottle to-go (a great gift for at-home mixologists) but stay to find fall vibes at the bar. This month’s featured cocktail is called The Apple of My Rye, which combines straight rye whiskey, apple cider, brown sugar, and fall spices. Feel good about ordering it because a portion of this month’s sales from the cocktail will benefit Mindset Charities, which provides adaptive exercise for multiple sclerosis patients. Folks can also cozy up with new cocktails that will carry over into winter, including Not The Gumdrop Buttons made with bourbon, gingerbread syrup, and holiday spices, and The Nog Days Aren’t Over made with vanilla rum, eggnog, black walnut bitters, brown sugar, and sweet vermouth.
The Basement Lounge
The modern rustic underground bar on Camp Bowie Boulevard creates a cozy atmosphere with its warm fireplace, fluffy pillows, and a slew of cool weather-inspired cocktails. On the menu is Autumn in Ridglea, a bourbon whiskey beverage spiked with vanilla vodka and blended with pumpkin, brown sugar, and nutmeg. (Think pumpkin pie in a glass.) There’s also a fall spin on the classic old fashioned – the Beauregard Old Fashioned infuses Beauregard sweet potatoes with TX Whiskey, brown sugar, and baking spices. It’s served beautifully garnished with a dehydrated ribbon of sweet potato. Also don’t miss the Averna Antica, made with rye whiskey and served in a coupe glass combining hints of orange and licorice with notes of juniper, berries, cloves, and sage. The classic Smoked Old Fashioned, presented in a smoky glass box, is also good for warming up inside and out.
Chef Ben Merritt is going strong at his Camp Bowie Boulevard coastal-inspired restaurant, The Fitzgerald. Weekend brunch is brand new here (it’s reminiscent of a Sunday in the French Quarter, minus the jazz trio) and with it comes new cocktails ideal for finding fall vibes. There’s Hot Buttered Rum made with demerara, spiced butter, and nutmeg; and the refreshing Café de Valencia, made with Valencia orange tequila, coffee liqueur, and cold brew coffee served frothy in a coupe glass. Also don’t miss the Apple Pie Old Fashioned made with bourbon and Granny Smith apples.
Any excuse to visit the sprawling Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., known as Whiskey Ranch, is a good one – especially when fall cocktails are calling. Visit the on-site Tavern bar for specialty libations perfect for sipping by the stone fireplace on the distillery’s ranch-inspired Back Porch. The current cocktail of the month – which may be served hot or cold – is the TX Cider, made simply with TX Whiskey, apple cider, maple syrup, and garnished with apple slices and cinnamon sticks. There’s also a Spiced Pear concoction infused with pineapple, fall-spiced syrup, and lemon; and the Pecan Old Fashioned made with TX Bourbon, brown sugar pecan simple syrup, and bitters. Cocktails also come with a sunset skyline view. Note that the Whiskey Ranch Tavern is open select Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and during special events.
The OG of craft cocktail bars in Fort Worth, The Usual on West Magnolia Avenue has upped the bartending game in town since 2009. (Don’t ask for a pumpkin spice martini here.) Visit now to experience their fall menu of sophisticated cocktails with elaborate names, like Caught in the Rain. This one starts with apple brandy that’s stirred and shaken with coconut syrup, Bruto Americano bitter apertivo liqueur, and lime juice. Or try the mezcal-based La Pierda Claro, made with agave, celery, and cardamom bitters. This season’s Daiquiri special features aged rum, apple brandy, cinnamon syrup, and lime. Note that happy hour is all night Sunday and Monday, and 4-7 pm Tuesday through Friday.