Dip into Blue Crab’s cocktails

00:00 August 02, 2013
By: 2Fik
[Courtesy of Anne Berry]
The Blue Crab served about 350 drinks during a recent dinner service - on a Wednesday night in late July, and barely a week after the lakefront restaurant opened. I snagged a seat at the bar, and then asked for an 11-ingredient cocktail.

Not a completely jerk move, as I was happy to wait, but with lead bartender Blake Kaiser behind the stick, the Crab Trap was in my hands about a minute later.

Anticipating a high-speed bar, he'd pre-batched the mixers and sweeteners - in this case, pineapple, lemon and orange juices, simple syrup, and orgeat, which went into the shaker in one easy pour, then joined by silver rum, Cognac, gin and triple sec; and, after straining, a rich float of Meyer's dark rum. It's refreshing, potent and meant for a long summer night.

"What better place for a tiki-style drink?" Blake asks as the sun fades over the lake, and sailors who'd been racing are coming off the water and onto the deck (eventually it will wrap around the upper floor, doubling the dining room's capacity; down below, a dock will let power boaters tie up and walk in).

Blake honed his skills as a Commander's Palace bar manager, then graduated the prestigious BAR program in New York City.

He's launched the Blue Crab list with his Crab Trap and a blueberry vodka collins, and this weekend he'll add two more: likely a whiskey sour with a Malbec float, as well as a classic Martinez, a blend of gin, sweet vermouth and triple sec.

Eventually, the full list will include another tiki-style drink, a second (honey-based) sour, and tequila done Sazerac-style, with an absinthe rinse.

We'll all have to wait for the drink that won Blake the popular vote in this year's Garden to Glass contest: a rum-based muddle of local strawberries and peach purée, threaded with Thai basil and mint; a seasonal prelude to fun in the sun.

Blue Crab, 7900 Lakeshore Drive, 284.2898

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