Bourbon blackberry smash. Muddled blackberries, mint, lemon, and honey. Shaken and served over ice and topped with club soda.
A Verbena at the Chandelier Bar in the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas. Apparently this is no longer on the menu but you can still order them. It’s served with a garnish of a Sichuan button flower that you’re supposed to chew on and swish around your mouth.
First sip before the flower - kind of tasted like a gingery margarita, on the sweet side. Chewing on the flower produced a vegetal flavor that quickly caused a numbing sensation in my mouth similar to the mala effect from Sichuan peppercorns. Subsequent sips were quite different from before. Seemed less sweet and with an almost salty taste before the sweetness, a little like how li hing candy tastes. Numbing effect lasted for a few minutes. Very interesting, would try again. By itself without the flower I think the drink is a little too sweet for my taste. Kind of expensive, after tax it was over $16. I guess this is kind of the norm for Vegas though.
Found a recipe here: http://www.liquor.com/recipes/verbena/#gs.b0Bd22Y
L’Amour en Fuite from the Canon cocktail book.
Gin, Lillet Blanc, St. Germain, served in an absinthe rinsed coupe.
Damn, those “Sichuan Buttons” are so 2006. I hate those silly takes on cocktails. When I was an infante in the scene I played with them, but really? Childish and as I said before, silly, especially for 1017.
Jamie Boudreau is great, as is his book, I totally know and respect him, but St-Germain is so overplayed… like so overdone that the last 7-8 years its nickname is “Bartenders Ketchup”.
LOL - “bartenders ketchup” is pretty funny. Ketchup or not, in my home bar, a well made cocktail that effectively uses St. Germain is welcome!
Painkiller #4 at Smuggler’s Cove in SF. Available with 2, 3, or 4 ounces of rum. Pusser’s rum, coconut cream, orange, pineapple, freshly grated nutmeg.
Just make sure you taste the infusion every few hours. Or else it will only taste like coffee, with no rye character. Also I would have cracked or very rough ground the beans.
We ended up leaving the beans in for 8 hours. The original inspiration recipe said two days! Glad I saw your advice JMF.
If ever doing infusions feel free to ask.
I have over 250 botanicals in my beverage lab, all infused separately into 95% abv tinctures, and many of the more pleasant into various beverage infusions. I know which need just a few hours, or minutes, and which can take days or weeks. I have also made liqueurs from dozens of types of ingredients or mixtures, many to use in bars/restaurants, or home use.
I’ve also made dozens and dozens of house made syrups. I have recipes for around 120 syrups/mixes for cocktail, beverage, and food use.
A Dramatic Pollywog from Trick Dog in SF (the current menu’s theme is “rhymes with Trick Dog” and is in the form of a children’s book). Bombay dry gin, Krogstad aquavit, Cointreau, carrot orgeat, lime.
A “Thrilla in Manila” from PCH in SF. Evan Williams Bourbon, shiso, calamansi, coconut, absinthe, li-hing mui.
Made a jar of pineapple infused gin last weekend. Tried two drinks.
Negroni variation. 2 oz pineapple infused gin, .5 oz amaro, 1 oz Campari. Crazy color and a really great drink.
Next was a Rivera (adopted from Toby Maloney). Gin, lemon juice, maraschino, Campari, simple syrup, orange bitters. We omitted the egg white because DH is not a fan. This was pretty good.
Drink one was definitely our choice of the two.
“The Calm Before” from the Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel in London.
Talisker Storm, unicum, vermouth, verjus, samphire, rain.
Served in a fuzzy cloud thing with blinking lights and a metal straw in it. It actually tasted a little like the taste in the air in a city before a rainstorm, like when the rain first hits the concrete.
No cocktails but a pour of a Copper and Kings brandy stored in Willett bourbon barrels followed by a Wild Turkey Russel Reserve while draining water from my pool at 10:00 Pm. Prayers for the Houston folks
The flavor profile of that drink sounds great. Although the ingredient list makes me think it may be a bit on the sweet side. Was it? That’s one of the few drinks that doesn’t sound like it would taste like you describe. I would think it would taste more like sitting in front of a fireplace in a leather armchair on a crisp Autumn day. (For me Beefeater gin tastes like when rain first hits concrete, or more so flagstone, on a summer day.)
But Damn, the Artesian Bar at the Langham used to be a class act. I’ve enjoyed many cocktails there. But after Alex Kratena left two years ago, the prices got jacked up a few pounds, and then they started getting fancy just to be fancy, and started using idiotic glitzy containers that had no real purpose, instead of elegant glassware.
Last time I was there a few months ago I didn’t enjoy a single cocktail. I feel they’ve really gone downhill.
I don’t remember it being that sweet, though it did have a little sweetness, more like a little smoky and a little astringent? Fireplace and leather as you describe sound about right. Sorry I’m not the best at describing drinks.
I’ve just been to a few cocktail bars in London but expensive cocktails in weird containers seems to be a theme in some places there. I went to the American bar in the Savoy and was served a drink in a glass inside a glass box with a bunch of leaves and twigs in it. Do you have a favorite bar in London?
I have quite a few favorites. Each has a different thing going for them. Some have that over the top scene going on, which I just hate, but it’s all about the drinks for me. In no order: Nightjar, 69 Colebrook, Zetter Townhouse, Lounge Bohemia, Trailer Happiness, Callooh Callay, Worship Street Whistling Shop, Happiness Forgets, Bar Américain, American at Savoy, Dandelyan, White Lyan, Connaught Bar, and more. Those just are off the top of my head. I actually have notes from several visits between 2012 - 2015, but none for my last two visits which were a bit of a fog because I was with a small group of international bartender friends and we were comped at so many spots that some nights were just a blur. (In 2012 I worked for a week staging at the Drink Factory lab, making cocktail ingredients for 69 Colebrook and Zetter.)
Thanks for that list. I’ve checked out a few of those bars - the Connaught, Dandelyan, Nightjar, and the American at the Savoy. All had really nice drinks. My favorite of these was the Connaught bar, which had some exceptionally balanced cocktails. Very expensive though, with drinks in the £20 range which is the most I’ve ever paid for a cocktail. Artesian and the American Bar at the Savoy had similar prices, and Nightjar and Dandelyan were a little more reasonable with cocktails in the £12 or so range. The Connaught bar gives you a recipe card for each drink you order (with measurements even) with your bill, so that you can try to recreate their drinks if you want at home, a very nice touch.