Cozy up to the apple pie martini at Tampa's Carmel Cafe

click to enlarge The apple pie martini will warm those Florida bones with just a sip. - Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar
Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar
The apple pie martini will warm those Florida bones with just a sip.

click to enlarge The apple pie martini will warm those Florida bones with just a sip. - Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar
Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar
The apple pie martini will warm those Florida bones with just a sip.
  • Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar
  • The apple pie martini will warm those Florida bones with just a sip.

Holiday cocktails, especially those claiming to taste like dessert, tend to go overboard on ingredients and simple syrup. Thankfully, Carmel Cafe & Wine Bar's apple pie martini proves to be a great example of what happens when a few good ingredients come together.

It starts off with a strong-brewed cinnamon apple tea, followed by some Stoli vanilla vodka. Garnish comes in the form of a grilled sliced apple and sprig of fresh mint. And that's it. There aren't any crazy sweet flavors, just the natural sweetness provided by the tea and vanilla, followed by the warmth of cooked apples and a pop of mint.

No fake "fall" chemicals here folks, it really tastes like a bite of apple pie. Could it be possible for a dessert-themed cocktail to satisfy but not overwhelm? The answer is yes. This baby goes down so smooth you'll want to guzzle and savor every sip, all at once.

And just like the cherry at the bottom of a Manhattan, that grilled apple slice soaks everything up for a delicious treat at the end.

Carmel Cafe's fall menu also includes tender pumpkin raviolis, butternut squash soup, and the basil grapefruit twist cocktail with Hendrick's Gin and lemon. Monday-Friday after 4 p.m., the basil grapefruit twist is just $4.

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