Aside from planning for the new bar at Watermark, a new menu at the current space always means new cocktails.
Being out in Vegas provided some inspiration, along with the usual deadline-induced productivity. I have been exploring two new (to my pantry) ingredients of late: honey and sorghum. (Note, in order to make them “mix-friendly” both of these are rendered into syrup before they find their way into the speed rail.)
I usually prefer to add sweetness to a drink when it also adds flavor. Pure simple syrup is something I rarely add to any drink, unless a guest specifically requests a drink be more sweeterer. Honey and sorghum both offer distinctive and often complementary layers to a cocktail.
My first venture for this menu is to put a Lithuanian spin on the familiar Moscow Mule. Honey is a very common element in Lithuanian cooking and flavor profiles, in general. In fact, if there is a ‘national spirit’ of Lithuania, it is undoubtedly Krupnikas – a honey- and spice-infused liqueur that is most often made at home. These guys are now distilling it in North Carolina, and I am going to make inquiries about getting it here in Ohio.
Ever since we were inspired by Ed Lee’s inspiration, I have fallen in love with sorghum. Rumor has it he literally made his staff throw out all of the sugar & honey in his restaurant after discovering it. The mellower cousin of molasses, it has an intoxicatingly dark and inviting flavor that just draws you in. Chef has put it in butter (amazing) and other creations, and once you taste it raw on your finger you will see why it NEEDS to be in your drink. You can simply mix some with Bourbon on the rocks, and prepare to be delighted.
I have discovered (to my admitted surprise) that the flavors do not blend well with lemon. Lemon juice is such a stand-by in the craft of the cocktail, it is always somewhat jarring to realize it simply “doesn’t go” in this or that drink. Feel free to share stories or ideas with this miracle ingredient.