Woody herbs hold up better in cooler temps, he noted, and they’re also bracing and full of strong flavor. Strong herbs such as sage and rosemary can add a distinctive element to winter dishes, and they often have a bit of menthol in their makeup, which gives them a “piney” or uplifting quality. Garnishing or infusing botanical spirits with woody herbs can have the same effect, and paired with something like a botanical gin, can enhance that element and bring it to the front of the palate.
The same goes for spices associated with holiday baking, from clove to cinnamon. Casey uses these spices behind the bar in the fall-winter months, and pairs them with deep and dark spirits to create a warming drink. The Dark as Night, for example, is a cognac concoction that includes baking spices and walnut liqueur. “It has the deep flavor, and then there is that additional neat warming thing that cognac does too,” Casey explained.