In moviespeak, bartender Brian Adee is the screenwriter and director of the new cocktail list premiering April 23 at Canal Place Theatres' Gusto restaurant.
Brian, lately of Loa Bar, had to create a focused list that would be easy to skim, appeal to most moviegoers, and that bartenders could make fast (80 percent of their drinks orders come from folks settled in their cinema seats; on a busy night, that means the bar gets 40 orders at once).
To that end, Brian has created cocktails in a concise range of styles and spirits that will be largely pre-batched, and none using more than five ingredients.
"I'm looking to blur the line between a speed bar and a craft cocktail bar," Brian says, relying on quality spirits, just-juiced fruit, and his own infusions and bitters.
Here's an early look at his craftsmanship, and what you'll be drinking the next time you go to the movies:
Clockwork. This (to my palate, more pleasing) variation on the Aperol Spritz pairs the Italian aperitif with grapefruity white wine and salt, both of which tone down the bitterness in this low-proof spritzer. Movie reference: Clockwork Orange
#42. I could stop at "buttered popcorn-infused bourbon", but the bourbon is Col. E.H. Taylor's bold barrel-proof spirit, which leads the way. Brian's ale bitters add caramel smoke and complexity, while chardonnay echoes the popcorn's toasted buttery notes, which linger in a long playful finish. This one's truly special. Movie reference: Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Oh Brother. Moviegoers craving a margarita will reach for this shake of tequila blanco, pink grapefruit juice and yellow Chartreuse, which yields a perfumed, honeyed and textured drink. Movie reference: O Brother Where Art Thou
Manhattan Project. The strongest drink on the new list is this silky, bracing and cold-brewed coffee cocktail, spiked with brandy, rum, Licor 43 and amaretto. This approachable "project" tastes like coffee and creamy chocolate, straddling the line between bitter and sweet. Movie reference: Watchmen
Mr. Lebowski. Brian modeled this cocktail after the root beer float, adding a potent splash of smooth Scotch (here, Johnny Walker Black). Creamy and smoky, with a rich tang from root beer liqueur, this sipper will get you through a late-night showing. Movie reference: The Big Lebowski
The new list will also feature fresh-infused flavored mojitos, which will change regularly; two current cocktails, The Devil Has Seven Faces (a Bloody Mary based on pepper- and garlic-infused vodka) and the Canal Place Cooler (vodka lemonade with a pomegranate float), will stay on.
Adolfo Garcia's Gusto at The Theatres at Canal Place, 333 Canal Street, 581.5400
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