Paw paws find their way into fall cocktails — try them Wednesday night at Lost Lake pop-up

Fall has arrived, which means you may be in for a surprise when you try the new limited-release spirit from Apologue.

Kenny Marlett, Chicago Tribune

The Chicago-based company that specializes in Midwestern-inspired liqueurs is launching its first seasonal offering, and it’s made with the paw paw.

While the paw paw is a wild tree fruit native to North America, it’s also a cousin to the Caribbean’s soursop, lending it a distinctly tropical taste with notes of mango and banana.

“The Paw Paw actually has some similarities to the American persimmon in that it’s a truly delicious tree fruit but, due to its limited shelf life, never became a commercial crop,” says Apologue partner Jordan Tepper. That short shelf life makes the fruit perfect to preserve in a liqueur.

The trio behind Apologue — Tepper, Robby Haynes and Ziyad Asrar — partnered with bartender Julia McKinley to help create the flavor profile for their fall release. McKinley, who spent time behind the bars at Lost Lake and Three Dots and a Dash, quickly saw a lot of potential for the paw paw in tiki cocktails, Haynes said.

Paw paws reach their peak in late summer and early fall, so the distilling team blended in some seasonal supporting flavors, such as Granny Smith apples, ginger, cinnamon and bitter orange peel. If you are thinking autumn in an Adirondack chair, you are on the right track.

McKinley, who is preparing to open the forthcoming Young American bar in Logan Square, will be back behind the bar at Lost Lake on Wednesday serving up Apologue Paw Paw cocktails. The event runs 5-9 p.m. at Stranger in Paradise inside Lost Lake. A portion of the proceeds from the event and all sales of the liqueur will benefit the Chicago Period Project.

Only 600 bottles of Apologue Paw Paw were produced, so, like fall in Chicago, it will be gone before you know it.