Now that we are well into fall, leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping, and food and drink menus around Denver are following suit. When the brisk nights fall and the warmth of whiskey is calling, it’s good to know where you can drop in to sip on a spiced, warming cocktail. These are three whiskey cocktails that are brimming with autumnal notes—and no pumpkin spice.

Acorn – Izabella

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Chris Clewell at Acorn. Photo by Roman Tafoya for 303 Magazine.

Aside from the outstanding food it is known for, Acorn’s bar program shines on its own, serving up shaken and stirred cocktails to suit every palate and season. Grab a seat at the bar and order the Izabella. Evan Williams’ Single Barrel Rye mingles with fernet, Niepoort tawny port, Unicum Plum and black walnut bitters. You’ll get a sip of sweetness up front followed with a slightly bitter spice at the end for a slow-burning drink all the way through. The deep red cocktail will complement plenty of oak-grilled items from Acorn’s menu, but we won’t blame you if you opt to just sip on the Izabella alone.   

Bar Fausto – #4

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Bar Fausto cocktails #1 and #4. Photo by Brittany Werges.

After a long day at work, slip into RiNo’s intimate and dimly lit Bar Fausto to unwind with the #4 cocktail. This slow-sipping libation features E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bourbon with a caramel sweetness and and subtle notes of pepper complemented by the smoothness of Cognac. The elixir is accented by herbaceous notes from green Chartreuse, amaro and apple bitters that cut through its boozy base. A thick-cut square of ice keeps things cold without diluting the swirling spirits. Just a few sips into it, and you’ll feel the toasty warmth that is craved on a crisp fall night in Denver.  

EDGE Restaurant & Bar – Pecan Manhattan

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Pecan Manhattan at EDGE Restaurant & Bar. Photo by Caitlin Roth.

EDGE’s biannual seasonal cocktail list recently rolled out with an autumnal take on the classic Manhattan. Knob Creek’s bourbon spends two weeks infusing with pecans, then meets a cocoa bean-infused sweet vermouth in the shaker with a dash of walnut bitters. The shaken concoction is rich with flavors of chocolate and espresso up front, finishing on a strong note from the bourbon. Whether you’re looking for an alternative to post-dinner coffee or want a boozy twist on dessert, this cocktail has you covered.