For this year's Spirited Dinner, Maurepas Foods' Brad Smith blended vodka with peach bitters and orgeat, calling the drink A Fist Full of Doll Hairs (a nod to spaghetti westerns).
The cocktail, with its lush almond syrup and roasted peachy bite, would have been plenty interesting on its own. The star of this showdown, though, is a single rock (three inches squared) that emerges from the froth as you drink.
"It's our first effort at an ice program," says Brad (still Chief Intoxicologist, now also the restaurant's co-owner). "It involves all the senses. It's a transformative drink."
Brad has made trays of these deeply rosy cubes, sculpting them from distilled water, decaf rosehip tea, and a pinch of citric acid.
As you handle the glass and the ice melts, it releases this tangy acidity to focus and round out the cocktail without the fruitiness of lemon, lime or grapefruit (just imagine the sour notes you'd get with vinegar or lemon juice instead).
Count on the bar team to create more flavored, textural ices; in the meantime, check out their rotating draft cocktail (at the moment, lemongrass vodka and ginger juice), off-the-menu elixirs (try their smoked peach cordial with a splash of soda), and their shelves of herbs and spices, to make their bitters á la minute.
Maurepas Foods, 3200 Burgundy, 267.0072. Tony DiMunno is now managing the bar, whose staff also includes Jason Lee.
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