Cocktail News - Feb 23, 2014

00:00 February 23, 2014

 Brian Adee launches new drink list at St. Lawrence
Last night, barman Brian Adee debuted his St. Lawrence drink list, a menu reflecting the bar’s renewed focus on craft beers.
There’s the Conquistador, a tequila-honey pairing that gets structure from an American IPA, and the Child’s Play, showcasing Scotch that Brian steeped with whole hops flowers and sweetened with chamomile syrup – it tastes of smoked orange and florals; a welcoming whiskey drink for a beginner.
Rounding out the foamy cocktails is Brian’s Guinness-based Sunburn, lit with Appleton 12-year rum he infused with coffee and banana.
Before you try this chocolate-rich concoction (with only a passing sweetness), first take in the aroma.
That blooming tropical fruit is “enhanced by the nitrous from the Guinness,” says Brian, a chemist of sorts. (He’s exploring flavor science in a book he says he’s writing “for other bartenders, on theory and technique.” Look for it this summer.)
Brian also shows a deft touch in the clean Dona Juana, a vodka-vanilla cream soda touched with wine, and in the Thunderdome, a round and juicy joining of rye, pinot noir and rooibos tea.
Teas play an important supporting role in Brian’s list: spiced and reduced, they make fast, flavorful syrups. A silky mixer of green tea, clove, cardamom and black pepper makes that point, punctuating minty-bitter liqueur in the gorgeous Fernet Julep.
It’s dry and bright, and more compelling with every sip. “I made this one challenging,” he says, “so anyone who orders it will appreciate it.”

Getting lit at Victory Bar
My garnish, that is.
I’d gone to Victory Bar to wish them a belated birthday (Daniel Victory’s venue turned three earlier this month) and to meet up with the bar’s new co-owner, Camille Whitworth.
I’d also heard stirrings of a new menu, which will likely include the “Devil May Care,” written by Laura Bellucci.
It starts with a sugar-coated blackberry dropped into green Chartreuse at the bottom of a martini glass. Laura flamed the berry until it started to roast.
Rather than muddling it raw, “cooking the blackberry releases enzymes you won’t get any other way,” she says. “It releases a berry cobbler flavor.”
Separately, she shook together bourbon, port, cardamom simple syrup and whiskey barrel-aged bitters, adding them to the simmering blackberry, with a champagne float to give it all some bite.
Besides the light show, I loved the flavors: cardamom threaded through the juicy port, with a soft bourbon burn.
Fire figures into another drink here, too: the Gas Mask, a flaming shot of green Chartreuse and cherry liqueur that comes to you on a plate.
Put out the fire with a shaking tin, then capture the tin’s fumes under a bar napkin. Down the shot, then stab through the napkin with a straw and inhale the fumes (surprisingly potent).
Our shots were expertly lit by barman Hayden Winkler. These might get you lit, as well.

Customize your cocktail with a Sainte Marie soda
It’s not on the menu, but Sainte Marie’s Thomas Schachte creates a new soda every week, flavor-based on the fresh produce coming into the kitchen.
“It started as a way to add a drink for lunch that’s craft-oriented but not alcoholic,” says Thomas. When he serves it that way, he starts with a housemade syrup and charges it with soda water.
Consider, though, making it the lengthener for a custom-built cocktail.
For instance, his satsuma-pink peppercorn-mint soda (from earlier this winter) might have been nice with a sweet, rounded Old Tom-style gin.
Another satsuma soda (this with ginger simple syrup, cardamom, lemon) sounds like it would have been a good mixer for bourbon.
On a recent visit I tried Thomas’s gorgeous shake of fresh grapefruit juice, cilantro and pink peppercorn simple syrup.
You can drink it straight; I took mine with an ounce of tequila blanco (for celeb watchers, it’s George Clooney’s brand) and one-third ounce Curaçao, which showcased the soft, rich and earthy cilantro.
This particular spiked soda has been so popular, in fact, that it’ll land on the new drinks list in March, says bar manager Chris Arenas.

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