With colder weather well on its way, our Thirsty Thursdays taste testers decided to take advantage of the outdoor bar scene before winter set in. They headed out to Willimantic Brewing Company and ordered the most seasonal cocktails on their menu: the “Fall Apple Cosmo” and the “Pumpkin Pie Martini.” And the results were both wonderfully autumnal and nearly worth the price.
The “Pumpkin Pie Martini” was strong, which shouldn’t be surprising since it’s made of three different forms of alcohol. The menu said it was made of vanilla vodka, pumpkin liqueur, Irish cream and pumpkin puree, which of course sounds delightful in theory and tastes like a pumpkin pie in reality. Our only problem with this drink — and I’m sure this will make us sound like babies — was that it tasted too much like alcohol. The vodka flavor overpowered the pumpkin and made it difficult to enjoy. I wish another sweet element had been incorporated into the drink, like honey or agave.
The drink was saved by its aesthetics. The Irish cream provided a creaminess reminiscent of pumpkin spice lattes, and the pumpkin pie spice sprinkled on top only emphasized this likeness. It was a very stylish and refined drink, perfect for a night out with friends. And the strength of its vodka flavor acted as great evidence of its alcohol content.
But while we liked the “Pumpkin Pie Martini,” the “Fall Apple Cosmo” was exponentially better. It was bright pink, with a skewered lime topping it off like a jaunty hat. Its flavor was between an apple-flavored Skittle and green Jell-O — very sweet but highly artificial. Although it contained apple vodka, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice, there was no alcohol flavor to be tasted. It was all sugar. And, honestly, we were fine with that.
To be honest though, I feel like they could’ve incorporated real apples into the cosmo. Why skewer a lime when you could easily skewer an apple slice? Why add cranberry juice instead of apple cider? I think this drink was delicious, but by no means gourmet. I wanted a little something more considering the high cocktail price of $10.
The two drinks combined caused me to become the perfect level of tipsy — happy and talkative, but not sick or dizzy. Granted, I am a lightweight, so you probably can’t judge your own ability to get tipsy from these drinks off of me. But still, it made for a great evening.
To be honest, the poor college student in me recommends just making better versions of these drinks yourself at home. Although bottles of triple sec and flavored vodkas may seem expensive, it is far more economical to spend $30 on a couple bottles of alcohol, than $20 on two fairly small cocktails. But I suppose it’s a certain kind of fun experience getting drunk publicly at a bar or restaurant. Maybe it’s not so bad to splurge money on bar-quality cocktails once in a while … after you turn 21, of course.