I can’t believe it’s already been a year since we put up our very first Bar Blip! It is true that time flies, but it feels as though I’ve been on a Delorian ride of epic proportions. I’ve learned so much and am happy to continue to learn and share cocktail recipes and tips through this blog. At Metropole we always seem to be living in the future since we release a new cocktail list every season. As soon as we put out our Winter cocktail list we were already starting to brainstorm our Spring menu. When it comes to cocktails the work is never done! We are hard at work on the menu for our beloved Cocktail Terrace and we just want it to stop raining so we can get our warm weather drinking on! We always want to create amazing cocktails that are interesting yet approachable and it can be challenging to always have your thinking cap on (my cap is more of a straw hat) – but we are lucky that we rely on our fellow bartenders to keep the creative brook babbling. It takes a whole crew of people to create a cocktail list, from the bar staff, to the managers – even our kitchen crew gets in on the process – and it is always so gratifying to be able to put out a list that was built by the whole team. It seems as if I’m drunk with feelings today so on to the cocktails.
With April showers comes the promise of beautiful spring blooms that sprout up when clouds subside. There is nothing that evokes spring–like giddiness than when I am enjoying a cocktail that contains flora. Cocktails with floral mixers can be tricky in that you don’t want to serve someone a glass of potpourri, and you must constantly be thinking about balance and keeping a light hand. There are a plethora of liqueurs out there; everything from Jasmine liqueur to creme de violette, from rose liqueur to the Coca-Cola of floral liqueurs, St. Germaine, which is made with elderflower. You can use fresh or dried flowers like hibiscus, chamomile and violet, and I also find teas are a great way to employ a floral note without going over the top. There are also some amazing concentrated floral “waters” such as rose water and orange blossom water that can transform a cocktail with just one or two drops. There is a common misconception that floral cocktails are just for clear spirits like vodka and gin or for bubbles cocktails but I find that the floral aspect brings a lightness to darker spirits that make them perfect to drink in the warmer months. We had a bourbon cocktail called the Phil Collins (I still really love that name!) with a jasmine cilantro lemonade that we concocted that made it a perfect warm weather cocktail. Herbs and spices are a spectacular way to balance and add depth to a floral cocktail. Some fun flavor combinations: lavender and star anise, hibiscus and thyme, elderflower and juniper, rose and tarragon. The Aviation is a classic cocktail that dates back to 1916, which demonstrates how the nuance of adding just a hint of floral notes can create a lasting impression. This is Metropole’s take on the classic, and like many old school recipes, you should experiment and tweak to your palate as there are about a 1001 variations to the original.
2 oz gin
1/2 oz maraschino liqueur
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz creme de violette
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with the exception of the creme de violette, shake and strain into a chilled coupe and then carefully add the creme de violette. Garnish with a cherry or lemon peel
LIKE A VIRGIN:
Adding flora to your favorite lemonade recipe is the perfect twist to a warm weather staple. The floral notes add just the right amount of balance to the tartness of fresh lemons. Here is a recipe for my favorite floral take on this cooling refreshment. I just happen to add gin to my lemonade, but you know, to each their own.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
¼ cup dried lavender
1 bunch thyme
½ cup fresh lemon juice
Boil sugar and water in a small pot until sugar is dissolved. Add lavender and thyme; let herb syrup cool add lemon juice and when ready to serve add 2 oz of syrup for every 6 oz of sparkling water or adjust to your taste. Garnish with a thyme or lavender sprig, or if you’re me, garnish with 2 oz of gin.
There is nothing like warm weather to incite the creative juices for cocktail creation. Being inspired by the season is one my favorite things about bartending at Metropole and if you’re ever stuck as to what to create take a look at what is in season as your starting point. Nothing says spring quite like rhubarb and there is something so whimsical about it’s bright color and tart flavor. The addition of rose water to rhubarb creates a perfect balance for a mixer that is versatile and bright.
Makes about 8 oz
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
peel of one orange
1/2 teaspoon rose water (you can find rose water at most grocery stores)
Combine the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.
Set a fine-meshed strainer (or a coarse strainer lined with cheesecloth)over a large bowl. Pour the rhubarb through the strainer until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Press the solids a little with the back of a spoon to extract more syrup. Allow mixture to cool and then add rose water
Carefully pour the syrup into a clean bottle, cover or cork the bottle and refrigerate.
You can definitely play around with how much rose water to add, I’ve found this is the right amount for my palette but you may like things just a touch rosier. This would be excellent with some sparkling wine and orange bitters. I also think this would be great with rye and soda water.
SUNDAY SCHOOL: Next month is Spring Break and in order to celebrate I will be sending a week’s worth of warm weather cocktail recipes to quench every cocktail palette! Patio Pounders may not be the most elegant of descriptions, but these cocktails aim to please and I hope to show you a range of innovative styles, so stay tuned!
Thanks again to everyone who takes a peak into this wacky world of cocktail shenanigans! I hope to only improve each month and will continue to drink up some knowledge to share with anyone who takes the time to take a read here (that includes you, mom)! Can’t wait to see everyone up on the Cocktail Terrace!
Cheers and here is to warm weather (it is coming, right?)
Your neighborhood bartender,