Cocktails for Spring

from The Bar Chef 

Symphony #5

Adapted from a drink I dreamed up while giving my son a bath – I smelled his cucumber and melon soap and thought the combination would be amazing in a cocktail – this is one of my favourite creations, hands down, and one of my best-selling cocktails.  This drink has a huge mouth feel and a great length – the finish lingers until the next sip.  It’s crazy smooth.  And it contains one of my pet bitters, dill.  Combining dill with a sweeter flavour like vanilla is an unorthodox move, but dill’s freshly cut grass quality is a perfect match.  Think of a classical music piece: complex, independent components brought together to create a beautiful whole.  That’s how I build a drink.  You can taste the different flavours and dissect them, but when you sip them all together, it just makes sense.

Makes 1 serving

Glass: coupe 

1 ¼ oz (35 mL) London dry gin

¾ oz (20 mL) vanilla-infused cognac*

¼ oz (5 mL) dill bitters*

¾ oz (20 mL) rosemary syrup*

3 spritzes orange blossom water, to garnish

¼ oz (5 mL) Green Chartreuse liqueur, to rinse glass

 * See recipes in The Bar Chef

To Build:

To chill coupe glass, fill with ice and water and set aside.

In shaker, combine gin, vanilla-infused cognac, dill bitters and rosemary syrup.  Add ice and stir to chill.  Set aside.

Discard ice and water from couple glass. Using atomizer, spritz inside glass with orange blossom water.

Add Chartreuse and swirl it around until inside of glass is completely coated.  Strain cocktail into prepared coupe glass.

Smoke and Mirrors 

I’m on a huge mezcal kick these days – I continue to be amazed by the spirit’s vegetal smokiness and the different ways it can be used.  In this case, it’s a great match for the sweet earthiness of the cherries and the floral herbaceousness of the rosemary.  This is a terrific fall drink with amazing length and a smoky, almost chocolate finish.

Makes 1 serving

Glass: coupe

1 ½ oz (45 mL) Emmascarado mezcal

½ oz (15 mL) Heering cherry liqueur

¼ oz (5 mL) rosemary syrup*

¼ oz (5 mL) cherry and vanilla bitters*

2 4-inch (10 cm) sprigs fresh rosemary, 

* See recipes in The Bar Chef

To Build:

In shaker, combine mezcal, cherry liqueur, rosemary syrup, cherry and vanilla bitters, and the leaves from 1 sprig rosemary.  Muddle.  Add ice and stir to chill.  Strain into coupe glass.  Garnish with remaining rosemary sprig.

Nada’s Tips & Tricks: the first drink is very refreshing and ideal for sipping on the back deck.  Don’t wait until fall to try the second one…perfect when your rosemary is coming up in the herb garden and to enjoy as the cooler evening descends on the party.  

Recipes from The Bar Chef: A Modern Approach to Cocktails by Frankie Solarik with Stéphanie Verge ©2013. Photography by Leanne Neufeld. Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.