Fall and winter drinks often highlight spices like cinnamon and cloves, which have long been hallmarks of cold-weather drinking. But at bars across the country, another pantry staple is adding warming notes to cocktails: toasted oats. The reason for their current popularity? Besides their versatility—toasted oats have made their way into everything from Espresso Martinis to tropical drinks—you can thank your local coffee shop. The rise in oat milk drinks at the coffee counter is carrying over to the bar.
At The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club in Nashville, bar manager Laura Unterberg was directly inspired by a beverage at the bar’s sibling concept, Elegy Coffee. The latte was designed to taste like Cheerios and milk. “That cereal milk has a beautiful, rich, malty flavor,” Unterberg says. To translate that into a cocktail, she combines vodka, Elegy cold brew and Faretti Biscotti Liqueur with a syrup made by lightly toasting store-bought oat powder in a pan before adding water and cooking it down with honey, maple syrup and cinnamon and allspice tinctures.