Rock star mixologist and LA transplant Julian Cox is shaking things up for Lettuce Entertain You.
A blend of seasonal flavors like apple, pear, and cinnamon, the Autumn Sour is Julian Cox’s original creation—and the ultimate cocktail for fall.
He’s earned multiple James Beard Award nominations plus accolades like “Best Bartender in LA” and “King of LA’s Craft Cocktail Movement,” but Julian Cox isn’t resting on his West Coast laurels. Instead, he is reinventing himself one tipple at a time through an industry-shaking move right here to the Windy City. “There was a part of me that really wanted to learn again,” says Cox, 35, who returned to his native Midwest earlier this year. “For me as a competitive spirit, and someone who enjoys being an underdog, what better thing to do than come to a place where nobody knows me and try to do great work, but also learn from a master [in Lettuce Entertain You founder Rich Melman]?”
The mixologist kicked off his Chicago stint at Italian spot Il Porcellino and tiki mecca Three Dots and a Dash, where he upgraded the cocktails in his signature culinary style. Now Lettuce’s beverage director, Cox oversees numerous concepts, but found time to concoct the ultimate fall drink for Michigan Avenue—The Autumn Sour—which you can sip yourself at RPM Steak and RPM Italian until the end of November. A seasonal twist on an old-school whiskey sour, the cocktail stars fall flavors of apple, pear, and cinnamon, all given Cox’s special touch. “It’s simple and delicious,” he sums up. “Sometimes a simpler drink just tastes better.”
Here, Cox shares the recipe for his delectable drink creation.
THE AUTUMN SOUR
1 oz. Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy
1 oz. pear-infused rye whiskey (see recipe below)
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
¾ oz. cinnamon syrup (see recipe below)
1 tsp. pear eau de vie
1 egg white
1 slice dehydrated or fresh pear, for garnish
Freshly grated cinnamon, for garnish
1. In a shaking tin, combine the brandy, whiskey, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, eau de vie and egg white; shake to just incorporate. Add in ice and shake until the outside of the tin is freezing cold.
2. Strain drink into a sour glass. Garnish the cocktail with a slice of dehydrated or fresh pear and freshly grated cinnamon.
PEAR-INFUSED RYE WHISKEY
6 ripe pears, such as d’Anjou
1 750-ml bottle good-quality rye whiskey
1. Core and slice the pears. Add to a large airtight glass container; pour in the rye whiskey.
2. Seal the container and let sit at room temperature for at least 4 days or until the whiskey begins to take on the flavor of pears.
3. Strain out the pear pieces; discard.
500 grams water
500 grams refined white sugar
50 g cassia (Chinese) cinnamon
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the ingredients and bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
2. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn off heat and let sit until cool, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
3. Strain the cinnamon syrup into a glass container. Seal and refrigerate until ready to use.