Cocktail: Danger is My Middle Name
Flavored vodka often gets a bad reputation for being a “beginner” spirit, or unworthy of attention from “real” cocktailers. This is a great way to demonstrate that a flavored vodka of exceptional quality is not doomed to be paired solely with energy drinks at the nightclub, but rather can be enjoyed in an interesting, creative, and incredibly pleasurable cocktail. This cocktail both tips its hat to the modern mixology movement, with its homemade bitters and unusual flavor-pairings, but also does great respect to the vodka, letting it shine with its ingredients, rather than either dominate or be lost within. Additionally, this is a great entry-level cocktail for the budding mixologist, as the marinated cherries and homemade bitters are indeed trendy, but more importantly they’re exceptionally easy to make and the ingredients are all available locally and cheaply through our local herb and tea shops and Beanilla, a stellar local vanilla-importer. This cocktail shies away from the sweet juice- and soda-plagued concoctions that can be found anywhere, and instead takes inspiration from a smoky backroom at a 50’s lounge…sweet black cherry tempered with honey, herbs, and a cigar-smoke note, rounded out by the mellow Dubonnet wine. A great pre-dinner alternative to a classic like a Manhattan, a great pairing cocktail with a cheese-flight (try it with a nice stilton and you’ll be in heaven), and great as a contrast to a rich dessert (black forest torte anyone?).
Mixologist: Torrence R. O’Haire
Number of years in the business: 11
Funniest bartending story? I once bartended for a private wedding party, and the father of the bride was making an absolute fool of himself-- dancing with his shirt off, climbing on tables, etc.-- his wife came over to me, livid, demanding to know how many beers I’d served him and why I didn’t cut him off. I explained he was on his eighth beer, but he’d been asking for a specific microbrew the whole time, apparently not realizing that it was a non-alcoholic beer. He hadn’t actually had a single alcoholic drink all night, but *thought* he was drinking real beer. His wife thought this was hilarious, bound me to keep quiet, and spent the rest of the night daring her husband to do ridiculous things, seeing just how far he’d let his imaginary intoxication take him. Finally, he was informed of the “trick”, and hilariously became INSTANTLY sober, and was the most eloquent, polite guy for the rest of the night. It was great. The wife tipped me incredibly well.