At Salud, I try and change our drink list every two months. Now, I know this seems a little unconventional compared to most restaurants, but since we’re located on a small island with a strong local clientele I try to keep it fresh and interesting to my two-to-four time a week customers.
One downside is that I feel like I don’t get to totally enjoy the creative process anymore. I see more “BTC’s” on tickets (Bartender’s Choice) than anything these days. And, while that can be fun on night where I have the time to juggle flavors on the fly, I feel like I’m relying on some of the same affinities time after time. Also, because we make/squeeze all of our syrups & juices I have a limited number of ingredients at the ready at any time. I don’t just order a cornucopia of flavors to pick from daily (because cross utilization is key, this is a business first)
So, since we’re about to hit our slower season I’m shaking things up a bit (dreadful pun, completely intended)
This next drink list is going to offer
- Four Classic Cocktails
- Three Original Creations (one for each BT that works)
- Six cocktails created by bloggers/bartenders that I enjoy reading.
That’ right, it’s a tribute list.
I know that many bars have these sort of lists included on their drink menus, but they tend to be places that have the ability to get guest bartenders regularly or have a clientele that recognizes the name and validity of the Bartenders or Bars they work at.
Down here on the other hand, there isn’t that sort of recognition yet. I’m trying, damn hard, but we’re just not there yet.
So here’s my plan. I’m going to spend the next three weeks introducing you to these six Bartender/Bloggers that I’ve selected to be on our Tribute list.
Here was my criteria for making the list:
- Pick people that I enjoy reading and a drink that sounds like something that I know I could sell to even the most obscure-flavor-reticent of guests.
- No Vodka
That’s pretty much it. As far as the No Vodka thing goes, I’m over my “Vodka is nothing but a vessel” phase, but Vodka generally sells itself and my goal here is to get customers interested in trying new things.
One issue that has crept up is product availability. There are a few spirits that are specifically mentioned, but I cannot get here. So, I’m making substitutions as I see fit.
Let’s get this party started…
St. Croix, meet Michael Dietsch
His blog, A Dash of Bitters, was one of the first booze blogs that I found myself gravitating to in my “better bartending” infancy. ADoB is a great blog to fall into, with multiple categories of varied relation, which makes it easy for beginners to absorb info while still offering something substantial to those who are further along in their cocktailia exploits. And, he’s about to be a father, so I like, identify with you, man.
The drink I chose to highlight is a play on the G&T, one of my favorite drinks, but one that is easily ruined by bad tonic or a heavy hand.
Here’s how Michael made his Blackstone G&T
- 2 oz tea-infused gin
- 3/4 oz. Meyer lemon juice (will probably use regular lemon in summer)
- 3/4 oz. honey syrup (equal parts honey and water heated on the stove)
Shake over ice, strain into ice-filled chimney glass. Top with tonic water.
and here is how I’m gonna do it.
- 2 oz Chamomile, Catnip & Lemon Balm infused New Amsterdam Gin
- 3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
- 3/4 oz Local Orange Blossom Honey Syrup
- 2 oz Homemade Carbonated Tonic H20
Combine Gin, Lemon & Syrup over ice stir & top with tonic.
I have to say, I love this drink. My first attempt was too heavy with lemon balm, so I cut it back a bit and found a nice balance. This is such a good match for the muggy weather we are about to have envelop us. I plan on keeping a bottle of this infused gin at home to get me through the summer.