While we've been distracted by strapping bourbons and overproof rums, low-proof drinks have slipped onto bar lists - by way of cocktails made from craft beers, digestifs and wines.
Lately, this includes a revived breed of liqueurs.
"Liqueurs are creeping back into the marketplace because the quality of the products is so much better, no more odd flavors," says Max Messier, bar and beverage director at Fulton Alley. "That quality, plus (broader) distribution, is driving their inclusion in high-end cocktail bars."
Take the bright, juicy and slightly edgy pink grapefruit liqueur made by Giffard & Cie, a Loire Valley distillery run by the same family through four generations.
Fulton Alley showcases it in their Forbidden Fruit, where a long pour of grapefruit liqueur outpaces the half-shot of buttery reposado tequila and half-ounce of lemon juice.
The cocktail, inspired by the Paloma, gets aromatics from a spray of Bittermens hopped grapefruit bitters, and a rich bite on the finish from cinnamon bitters.
At 16% ABV, the grapefruit liqueur makes this cooler one of the less potent on the Fulton Alley list (with the possible exception of Max's Bowler's Shandy - Miller beer, sugared citrus oils and lemon juice).
The list, written by co-owner Kirk Estinopal (and tweaked by Max and co-owner Neal Bodenheimer), includes a vodka sour based on housemade tea syrup and a Manhattan darkened with coffee bitters.
Max is also developing a line of vermouths (including a flower-based fortified wine) that will turn up in the bar's cocktails sometime next year.
"I've been a big fan of low-proof spirits for a long time now," he says, referring to his bar experience in San Francisco and New York City. "That trend will soon arrive in New Orleans."
Fulton Alley is an upscale bowling alley and gastropub located at 600 Fulton Street, 208.5569.
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