The arrival of autumn brings things into focus, provides some clarity. All of which means: It's time for gin and vodka.
From the land of single-malt Scotch comes Caorunn, a vibrant, small-batch gin. It's a silky production, from 11 botanicals. Rowan berry delivers more impact than the usual juniper. Bog myrtle, dandelion and coriander add to a distinctive, refreshing, slightly floral gin. And try it, as the makers suggest, with a thin slice of red apple. Very good company. A bottle of Caorunn is about $40.
Nolet's Silver Dry Gin is a floral, first-class gin, ideal for a martini, a gin fizz, a gin rickey. The "silver" is a smooth number, with subtle notes of peach and raspberry, with, for gin, an unusual emphasis on fruit. Distilled in Holland by the Nolet family, which has been in the business for more than 300 years. About $50.
New Amsterdam Gin arrives light and clean, with a hint of citrus, mainly orange peel. If you're not too fond of botanical qualities, then target medium-bodied New Amsterdam, particularly for a cocktail such as a Tom Collins. You can add it to sangria or iced tea. A bottle is about $14.
And for a high-style vodka, look for I Spirit, an ardent and enticing distillation that includes white wine from Friuli and, yes, water from the Dolomites. A curious, bright, lush, successful combo, courtesy of the Ciprianis of Harry's Bar. Possibilities: Add a basil leaf or a frozen raspberry. About $36.