Craft cocktail student shares notes on fall favorites

Two-time alum and Easy Bistro Bar Manager Alex Jump recently teamed up with fellow participant Eric Bennett Jr. — a Birmingham, Alabama, native named one of Beverage Media's 2016 Bartenders to Watch — to spend a Sunday at Easy crafting original, fall-inspired cocktails based on their educational experiences.

As students across the country filed into colleges and universities for a new crop of classes this fall, the nation's top bartenders convened at their own institution of higher learning, the Bar Institute of Portland in Portland, Oregon, for Portland Cocktail Week.

Two-time alum and Easy Bistro Bar Manager Alex Jump recently teamed up with fellow participant Eric Bennett Jr. - a Birmingham, Alabama, native named one of Beverage Media's 2016 Bartenders to Watch - to spend a Sunday at Easy crafting original, fall-inspired cocktails based on their educational experiences.

Our favorite concoctions include the Varsity Jacket, a room-temperature cocktail blending Belle Meade Bourbon, the Italian aperitif Zucca and Amontillado sherry that feels just right as football season gets into full swing and cooler fall air starts to creep in. "It's the first cocktail I've done at room temperature, which is an up-and-coming trend on cocktail menus," Jump says. The inspiration for the drink came from attending Portland Cocktail Week last October, when she was selected to be on the support staff, referred to as the "varsity team," in which members are given letterman's jackets to wear.

Letterman's jackets call to mind puppy love, which happens to be the name of another cocktail inspired by Bennett and Jump's time in Portland - specifically, an incident involving bull-fighting Chihuahuas. Jump describes the cocktail's mix of Espolon Tequila Reposado, bitter orange Aperol, Ancho Reyes ancho chili liqueur, agave nectar, lime and cinnamon as "like a Mexican breakfast," while simultaneously "crisp, refreshing and reminiscent of a cool fall morning in Portland."

She again made use of Amontillado sherry with the Sassy's Special, an ode to one of Portland's many strip clubs (of which the city has more per capita than anywhere else in the U.S., says Jump), which serves as the final stop of the night for many of the bartenders during Cocktail Week. Her take on what is known to many as a Boilermaker (a beer paired with a shot) is composed of a Miller High Life and a shot of Lustau Amontillado sherry.

Read on for her recipes.

photo The Varsity Jacket

THE VARSITY JACKET

What you need:

1 ounce Belle Meade Bourbon

ounce Zucca

ounce Lustau Amontillado sherry

1 bar spoon simple syrup

ounce room-temperature water

What you do:

Mix ingredients in cocktail shaker and serve room-temperature in a sherry glass.

photo The Puppy Love

PUPPY LOVE

What you need:

ounce Espolon Reposado Tequila

ounce Aperol

ounce Ancho Reyes ancho chili liqueur

ounce lime juice

ounce agave nectar

Cinnamon, for garnish

What you do:

Mix ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice, strain into coupe glass and shave cinnamon on top.

SASSY'S SPECIAL

What you need:

12 ounces Miller High Life

1 1/2 ounces Lustau Amontillado sherry

What you do:

Serve shot alongside beer.