The sun is shining, the drinks are flowing and the Metropole bartenders are absolutely enamored of our new spring menu! There really is something for everyone on this list, but most importantly, so many new house mixers for guests to experiment with. The Ziggy Stardust is a bubbly cocktail with our house made star fruit sours and grapefruit shrub, which has cardamom, thyme and red wine vinegar. This cocktail dazzles and the shrub is one of my favorites. This drink is so versatile it makes a killer pairing with tequila and also pairs so perfectly with vodka it’s almost dangerous. The Vespa is a fresh and floral take on the classic Vesper. This cocktail features one of our favorite distilleries out of Columbus, Watershed. We muddle cucumber and lime, add Watershed Four Peel Gin, Watershed Vodka, Lilet Rose and a hint of lavender to create a light and bright cocktail. The Chester Copperpot is one of my favorite bourbon cocktails we’ve ever had on our menu! Wild Turkey 101 is paired with Creme Yvette, our house made orange curacao, Peychaud’s bitters and orange bitters to create a cocktail that is balanced and delivers handsomely with a bourbon finish. Also, back for a limited time is our barrel-aged Lieutenant, our take on the classic Sazerac. Order while supplies last, and real talk they don’t last very long!
It’s so awesome to have guests who are inquisitive and want to learn about all the wacky stuff we are doing behind the bar. Since we make so many of our ingredients in house, it’s only natural that we get a lot of questions! One of the questions we get a frequently is, “What are bitters?”. You see the word bitters a lot on cocktail menus, but who knows exactly what magic is going on inside those tiny bottles? Bitters are liquid extracts that are typically made from a neutral high proof alcohol base that is flavored with bittering agents (woodworm, quassia bark, gentian) herbs, spices, roots, and botanicals. Bitters are awesome in cocktails because a dash or two can completely change the drink’s flavor profile and make it more balanced. There aren’t really too many restrictions on what ingredients you can use when making a bitters. I’m not gonna lie, I do feel like an ancient apothecary when I’m compiling the ingredients for a new bitters . Bitters have a long history in cocktail culture, but were also used as tonics to cleanse the body of toxins and to aid in digestion. For our spring menu, we came up with a guava bitters that is bold with strong overtones of fennel and a clean tropical and tart fruitiness from the guava. We use this bitters on our menu in a cocktail called the Phil Collins. Our take on the Tom Collins, (gin, lemon, sugar, soda water) the Phil Collins is Bulleit Bourbon with a jasmine cilantro lemonade and a couple dashes of our guava bitters. It’s Phil Collins-drum-solo good!
For all of you rad home-tenders out there trying to hone your skills, here is an awesome and easy base recipe for leftover wine that will really get your creative juices flowing. I don’t really have left over wine at home (we’re sort of a waste not want not household) but I imagine after a couple of big dinner parties and cookouts, leftover wine is a common occurrence. This is a great recipe to create an easy and relaxed wine cocktail that you can enjoy poolside or while manning the grill. This recipe is a delicious Frankenstein of a sangria, an apertif wine, and vermouth. You can swap out the botanical aspect with any floral you choose and add different herbs and or spices.
1 1/2 cups of white wine
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp dried lavender flowers (you can use jasmine, elderflowers, hibiscus etc)
1 tbsp juniper berries
peel of one orange
Over medium heat, add white wine and sugar to a medium saucepan. Once sugar has dissolved add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and then store in the fridge. Enjoy this cocktail over ice with a slice of orange, or add to gin for a lovely cocktail.
Bartenders are imperfect creatures but we do always try our best. One of our guests Sam Haugh shared an experience he had when he ordered a Gibson, which is a martini with cocktail onions. And this is what he got:
I say, “A for effort fellow bartender!”
Feel free to send us any of your bar bloopers, questions you’d like us to answer or recipes you’d like to see! Have fun out there, stay thirsty, and stop by for a cocktail or three!
Your neighborhood bartender,