Friday, September 2nd, 2011
One advantage I have in my career – and believe me, I thank my lucky stars every day for my good fortune in this regard – is that I travel a lot. And when I do travel, I get to visit the greatest bars in the world and spend time picking the brains of the world’s greatest bartenders.
The most recent drink to grace our cocktail list is the result of my travels.
Taking inspiration from many sources, my initial interest in bitter, sour and sweet with a distinctly tropical bent was taken directly from the ever-brilliant Giuseppe Gonzalez and his now-famous Trinidad Sour.
While I, and the rest of the world, was taken by the combination of bitter, herbal, sweet flavors, it never really struck me as a an extensible sort of drink style until I came across Andrew Bohrer’s amaro-based Mai Tai variation called the “Elena’s Virtue”. Now here was a drink with legs, and a hint of what was to come in the world of cocktails, in my humble opinion.
But what New York and Seattle do well, San Francisco often does better, and usually with a lot more Fernet Branca, and that’s the conversation I had with Josh Harris while competing in the Domaine de Canton finals in St. Maarten this spring. And after tasting his simple concoction of ginger liqueur, pineapple and Fernet Branca I knew it was time for me to get my feet wet and try my hand at the herbal tropical sour.
The result has been a smash hit at the bar, as it very much follows in the style of our restaurant bar, a reflection of the crafted European style of cooking that emerges from the kitchen on a nightly basis. In other words, earthy, sour, herbal flavors do very, very well where we work.
Put all of this together, throw in a desire to explore the dusty, neglected bottle of Drambuie, and an early morning racking one’s brain to come up with a drink name (the original intent was Brixton Club) and a star was born:
1½ oz Drambuie
1½ oz pineapple juice
¾ oz lime juice
1 tsp Fernet Branca
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake ingredients with ice and finish with 1 oz soda water. Strain mix over fresh ice into a chilled collins glass and garnish with an orange twist.