All the inspiration John Poiarkoff needed to create a fresh autumnal cocktail were the honeycrisp apples staring back at him in his walk-in cooler. "Apples are amazing right now," says the sous chef at Gowanus newcomer The Pines. It turns out lending the sweet-tart fruit a savory bent elicits an even more sublime result in cocktail form. For the Baked Apple, Poiarkoff pairs apple juice with Elijah Craig 12-year-old bourbon, a hint of Laphroaig Scotch "to bring out the smokiness" and maple bitters. For an added richness, Poiarkoff, demonstrating his culinary prowess, melds classic fall spices including sage, lemon thyme, orange peel, cinnamon, clove and allspice. Before bartenders pour the apple-whiskey mélange, they smoke an oversized wine glass (perfect for those ensuing heady aromas) -- they'll even do it tableside for those diners tearing into, say, oxtail cappellacci -- to serve Poiarkoff's mixture in for a theatrical and flavorful flourish.

 

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