Mar 01 2014

A Mexican Firing Squad, and Herbsaint’s revamped drinks program

By: Anne Berry

blog5Photo by Anne Berry

Herbsaint has begun quietly replacing its long-lived classics with specialty drinks, a list refresh meant to “bring cocktails in line with our food and wine program,” says general manager Joe Briand.

Crafting the new drinks is bartender Billy Dollard, who wrote a cava-pear brandy sparkler, as well as a bourbon and passion-fruit smash.

He’s adapted classics, too, including the Mexican Firing Squad, documented by Charles H. Baker in 1937.

Like the original, Billy’s variation calls for tequila blanco, rich handmade grenadine, lime juice and Angostura bitters.

After trying it - a refreshing taste of smoked fruit, with an underlying spiciness - the update, I’m guessing, lies in a higher dosage of grenadine, a better match for Billy’s robust tequila.

He calls this menu a first step in the cocktail redesign, and will roll out more specialty drinks over the next few months.

The changes, though, won’t necessarily extend to other locations in the Link Restaurant Group.

As Joe points out, Cochon and Peche opened during the cocktail revival, and so had programs in place from the start (Cochon’s list is Southern-styled with Texan twists, while Peche’s is rum-focused).

“Herbsaint’s list will feature contemporary, simple and elegant drinks,” says Billy. “They’re not esoteric. We’re not using 20-ingredient infusions.”

Herbsaint, 701 St. Charles Avenue, 524.4114. Herbsaint will be closed March 4, Mardi Gras day.

Joe Briand helped open Herbsaint in 2000, continuing there as a manager, and then with LRG’s corporate arm, through most of that decade. He returned to Herbsaint a few weeks ago, after opening Lucky Rooster.

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