For a month, Pearl Wine Bar was the only bar in Louisiana able to sell a cocktail made with Cathead Pumpkin Spice vodka. How's that?
The answer lies in owner Leora Pearl's retail space next door, brimming with more than 1,300 bottles of wine, beer and spirits.
Cathead only had 250 cases of the limited edition vodka to sell in Louisiana, and retailers got first dibs.
"Pearl Wine was a unique situation" because of their integrated retail-bar business, says Candace Rodriguez, Cathead Vodka's La. market manager. "They had the first Pumpkin Spice cocktail in Louisiana."
That would be The Upstate, written by Mary Dixie, Pearl Wine's bar director.
She starts with the elusive Pumpkin Spice, a corn-based vodka infused with organic ground pumpkin, Christmas spices, ginger root and bourbon-vanilla beans.
For The Upstate, Mary pairs it with her own robust Scottish red tea-honey simple syrup and allspice dram. This sipper showcases a delicious pumpkin-spiced bite, with a hint of orange, and it's more savory than sweet.
Credit that drier profile to the base spirit, as well as Mary's pinch of salt, which brings "edge and punch to the drink, without too much acid," she says.
Mary came to Pearl Wine Bar from a three-year stint at the Windsor Court; besides managing the bar here, she also owns a catering company that puts on five-course wine dinners (and Thursday night grilled cheese pop-ups) at Pearl Wine Co.
"I'm in an exceptional position, being able to pull from the retail side," says Mary. "I'm able to create on a whim."
Pearl Wine Co., 3700 Orleans Ave., 483.6314. Check their calendar for near-nightly special events. Note that Pearl Wine Bar charges corkage fees on any bottle, whether brought from home or from next door.
With its retail orders filled, Cathead Vodka has since opened up distribution of Pumpkin Spice to other bars in Louisiana. They've also launched a pecan-flavored vodka, which will remain available year-round.
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