Cocktail wizard Jim Meehan shares his favorite fall drinks

Just as the start of fall marks the transition from swimsuits and flip-flops to cozy sweaters and socks, it’s also the time of year when our cravings shift from refreshing spritzes and frozen tropical drinks to more sophisticated cocktails that highlight the flavors of fall. .

And there’s no one better to help home mixologists make the seasonal change than celebrity bartender Jim Meehan, former owner of famed Manhattan cocktail den PDT. Now the beverage director at Takibi, a Japanese-influenced bar and restaurant in Portland, Oregon, Meehan has literally written the book (make both) on sophisticated seasonal cocktails: He is the author of The PDT Cocktail Book and Meehan’s Bartender’s Handbook.

For those who can’t visit Takibi in person, Meehan and his bar team share their recipes for four creative fall cocktails made with fall ingredients like pear brandy, rye, quince and apricot liqueurs, and even a house-made blueberry-miso syrup .

We Will, We Will Roku (photo above)

Meehan created this mashup of Negroni and Old Fashioned classic cocktails using Roku Gin, a Japanese spirit made with the usual juniper – plus botanicals of sakura flower, sakura leaf, yuzu peel, green tea, gyokuro tea and sanaho pepper.


1 oz. Wild Turkey 101 Rye

1 oz. Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth

.5 oz. Suntory Roku Gin

.5 oz. Campari

.5 oz. Aperol

.25 oz. Stone Barn Apricot Liqueur

2 dashes Angostura bitters


Stir and strain into a chilled rocks glass over a large cube.


Fresh quince is hard to come by – even in the fall when it’s in season. But this recipe from Takibi bartender Alex Anderson uses the fruit in two forms that are always available. The quince liqueur lends an earthy fruitiness that joins the botanicals of the aperitivo with the aromatic sake and salty tequila. A cube of membrillo (AKA quince paste, found in gourmet shops and Spanish markets) speared into a cocktail selection makes a striking, modern garnish.


1 oz. Tedorigawa Kinka Daiginjo Nama Sake

.75 oz. Cocchi Americano

.5 oz. Siete Leguas Reposado Tequila

.25 oz. Stone Barn Brandyworks Quince Liqueur

1 bar spoon simple syrup (made with a 1 to 1 ratio of water and granulated sugar)

Membrillo (quince puree), for garnish


Stir with ice, strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass and garnish with a Membril cube.

Pear Mail

Takibi bar manager Lydia McLuen enhances the bold rum base of the classic Air Mail with Bartlett pear brandy and plum vinegar. Argyle’s excellent traditional sparkling wine adds an effervescent elegance.


1 oz Bacardi 8 rum

0.5 oz lime juice

.5 oz honey syrup (2:1)

0.25oz Clear Creek Pear Brandy

1/8 teaspoon Umeboshi Plum Vinegar

1.5oz Argyle Brut Sparkling Wine


Shake all ingredients together except the wine. Add wine to shaker. Adapt it to a large coupe.

Smart club

Bartender Christie Jucha swapped Unger Farms blueberries for raspberries in Clover Club’s clever twist, where miso lends an umami note that’s enlivened by bracing botanicals in the gin and vermouth.


1.5 oz. Aviation jeans

.5 oz. Macchia Dry Vermouth Marino

.75 oz. lemon juice

.75 oz. Blueberry-Miso Syrup (recipe follows)

Egg white

Raspberry-Miso Syrup Recipe

Yield: about 1 quart

500 grams of fresh blueberries

12 oz of water

sugar 375 g

40g light sweet miso


To make Blueberry-Miso Syrup, simmer blueberries and water for 5-10 minutes. Once the juice has been rinsed in water and is the same color as the berries, strain through a fine strainer and coffee filter. Add the sugar and miso while hot. Stir until dissolved. Store up to 3 weeks.

To make cocktail, shake all ingredients dry, then shake with ice. Strain into a coupe of chilled egg. Twist a lemon coin on the surface and toss.

Takibi is located at 2275 NW Flanders St, Portland, OR. For more information, visit the @takibi_pdx.

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