We are heavy into fall which means restaurants and bars are changing menus to adjust for the season and produce that is more readily available. In a new series, we’ll be looking at what bartenders are excited about about using and a recipe or two to try at home.

First up is the ever-talented Brian Means at the Fifth Floor. Means said he is fortunate because many times, he’ll share some of the produce that Chef David Bazirgan and his staff is using on the regular dining menu. He’ll mix and match and play around with different ingredients and spirits to find the perfect match. Means is also a regular himself at local farmers markets.

“There’s so much great produce out there – from pears and apples to fennel, figs and kale,” Means said. “I’ve learned a lot from the kitchen here at the Fifth Floor and I’m definitely looking forward to creating a few more savory cocktails and using ingredients that you don’t often see in cocktails.”

Means said that any spirits work anytime of the year but he especially enjoys playing with whiskey, Brandy, Cognac, Armagnac and rum.

Here’s the recipe for one of Means’ most popular drinks at the Fifth Floor, Hops & Dreams, along with a few helpful tips on making the perfect cocktail.

Hops & Dreams

Templeton Rye, Lemon, Anchor Steam, Maurin Quina

Hops & Dreams

2 oz Templeton Rye

.75 oz Anchor Steam Beer Syrup

.75 oz lemon

.5 oz Maurin Quina

Angostura Bitters Garnish

Method: Shake, Double strain into a Nic & Nora Glass. Garnish with 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Anchor Steam Syrup:

12 oz of Anchor Steam

12 oz Cane Sugar

Vaccum out the carbonation with the vacuum sealer or if you don’t have one just open the beer and let it sit so it becomes flat. (I find if you try to reduce the fully carbonated beer it foams over in the sauce pan pretty quick).

Combine the sugar and beer in a pot and let it simmer and reduce down a bit until it’s the consistency of maple syrup.

Remove from heat, let it cool and bottle.

Keep refrigerated.