An End-of-Summer Cocktail With a Hint of Fall

During the transitional time between summer and fall, it can feel like two seasons at once: steamy days but with cool nights. When you want something light but aren't so worried about staying hydrated at all costs, a slightly richer or sweeter drink starts to sound like just the thing. This is how fall ingredients start creeping back into my recipes.

Take pomegranate juice. The tart, inky-red juice has a lot of character, and its spicy, earthy layers give a nice backbone to drinks without weighing them down. Here I've reduced the juice to a dense syrup, further concentrating its flavor. Reduction also means there's more space in the glass for booze to keep the cocktail from tasting like a glass of diluted alcoholic juice.

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To temper the syrup's richness and bring a bit of brightness back, I use a sparkling wine for the base. And to offset the syrup's sweetness, I mix in Cocchi Rosa, an aromatized wine whose subtle bitterness comes from gentian and cinchona bark. A splash of lime keeps it fresh. An orange twist adds a final layer of aroma and brings out the citrus qualities of the Rosa.

Dark and complex yet refreshing and bubbly, it's a drink for days when the weather can't make up its mind.