Taking advantage of fresh ingredients available throughout the year and incorporating them into cocktails is a given for many bars, but it also seems to be a focus for many fine-dining establishments as they expand their bar programs beyond wine and spirits. One such institution in NYC is Alfred Portale‘s Gotham Bar and Grill, where they have endeavored to utilize an often difficult-to-balance fall fruit in cocktails, Concord grapes. Try out this Concord Gin Fizz recipe at home.

Concords can often carry a sharp, pungent flavor when used in syrup that might get tiresome to drink, but Gotham’s approach is to crush the local grapes and put the blended mash through a rough filter to get rid of the skins and seeds, while maintaining great texture and fresh flavor. The result is a light, but not overly bright grape juice that, when paired with Gin, Pacharán (a sloe berry liqueur from Spain), and a hint of lemon, produces a delightful fizz, originally created by Rick Pitcher for the restaurant.

As the seasons change, consider integrating the juice from — or making an infusion with — recently harvested fruits such as apples, quince, figs and pears in the fall/winter, as well as berries, veggies and herbs in the spring/summer. Though it can be difficult to find the right balance when adding in these flavors, keeping in mind a base recipe of splitting the spirits with the juice, sweetening and other modifiers in the drink equally can be a great place to start, with fine tuning and the use of bitters, liqueurs and garnishes coming after that to create a delicious drink. Enjoy!