After nine months behind the stick at Bellocq, Winston Willingham will soon have his own cocktail featured on their drinks list. “It comes to a point where there are hundreds of recipes in your brain, and that’s when you really get a grasp for what makes a well-balanced cocktail,” says Winston. “I approached it from a culinary aspect, and that takes a lot of trial and error.”
Bellocq co-owner Kirk Estopinal greenlit the cocktail, which Winston calls “The King’s Evil”, after the old practice of getting a monarch smashed to smooth out a bad temper.
No doubt it will do the same for you, as it’s a pleasing blend of Madeira and bourbon, touched with sweetness and citrus. The Madeira comes from the Rare Wine Company’s portfolio, which revives styles of the fortified wine that were popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Winston bases “The King’s Evil” on their Madeira named for Charleston, which favored the drier sercial style. He pairs the lower-proof wine with an almost equal pour of bourbon, matching the Madeira’s caramel and candied orange notes while ramping up the alcohol content. It’s all chased by a grapey sweetness on the finish.
A bit of grapefruit oil from the garnish also adds “electricity in the mouth,” says Winston, and helps make this palate-opener a fine aperitif. It’s a good fit for Bellocq’s overall program, with its focus on fortified wines.
“The King’s Evil” will appear on Bellocq’s spring list, which rolls out next week.
Bellocq at the Hotel Modern, 936 St. Charles Avenue
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