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O-Honey at Table 45; The Fall Apple Cosmo at Mitchell's Fish Market

O-Honey at Table 45

Let's raise a glass to the bees — those underappreciated agriculturalists who both pollinate our produce and provide the wherewithal for treats like honey cakes, honey pies, and Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey. A mellow blend of honey liqueur and good ol' Jack, the whiskey forms the backbone of a series of seasonal cocktails now on the menu at Table 45 in the InterContinental Hotel. Even non-whiskey fans are likely to dig the buzz: The richness of the honey softens the alcoholic bite of the booze, and makes for cocktails that go down easy while still packing a manly punch. "The Bee Happy is my favorite," says bartender Joe Lipiec, a former paramedic now in his fourth year with the tony property on the Cleveland Clinic campus. "It's sweet but not cloying, and the honey makes it very smooth," he says of the refreshing cocktail, a lip-smacking blend of honey whiskey, lemonade, and cranberry juice, garnished with a lemon-honey stick. (Lipiec clips the end of the honey stick before serving; imbibers can stir or suck, as they prefer.) Other offerings on the special Jack Daniels cocktail menu include the O-Honey — orange juice, triple sec, and a splash of Sprite, garnished with a mandarin orange-honey stick — and Swinging at the Bees — lemonade, iced tea, and a mint-honey stick. Each cocktail is $8. The emphasis on honey is a foreshadowing of next summer, when staffers expect a fifth-floor apiary to produce up to 35 pounds of liquid gold for use in the hotel's kitchens. Potential utilizations include desserts, marinades, and cocktails, as well as special honey-themed dinners at Table 45. "We've made a concerted effort in the past 18 months to become a sustainable property," says food and beverage manager David Schoeffler, noting that the commitment to composting and recycling recently paid off in two-star certification from the Green Restaurant Association. "It's our effort to conduct business while taking care of the environment," he says. "The two go hand in hand."

9801 Carnegia Ave., 216-707-4045, tbl45.com

The Fall Apple Cosmo at Mitchell's Fish Market

Just like their kitchen counterparts, bars are going big on the seasonal menu trend. While the inventive mixologists at local spots like Crop, Pier W, and the Velvet Tango Room have been riding that wave for a while now, the development has not been lost on Mitchell's Fish Market — a 19-location chain of seafood-centric eateries, and part of Florida-based Ruth's Hospitality Group, where director of beverage strategy Helen Mackay spends her days designing spirituous seasonal salutes (yes, it does sound like dream job). Newest on her list of designer cocktails is the Fall Apple Cosmo, a hand-shaken combo of Absolut Orient Apple, housemade ginger syrup, fresh cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed lime juice garnished with an apple slice. "It explodes with flavors of warm spice and fresh, crisp, red apple," says Mackay. "Which makes it a perfect way to celebrate the fall season." The lip-smacking cocktail recently debuted at Mitchell's Woodmere location at $8.95. If you go, you might want to check out the Fall prix fixe dinner menu, too. The three-course options include a starter, dessert, and entrées like brown sugar-glazed salmon, shrimp and bay scallops Florentine, and Jumbo Snow Crab Legs at prices ranging from $19.99 to $29.99. — Cicora

28601 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere, 216-765-3474, mitchellsfishmarket.com

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