As the time of the fall menu nears its end, I feel the need to talk about two of our featured drinks in particular – the previously posted “Haddonfield” and the “Widow’s Grove.”
These cocktails featured ingredients that are hard to come by in B.C., and we in fact bought up all the remaining supply we could find. The “Haddonfield” employed the Agave De Cortes Anejo mezcal (of which we are down to our last few ounces), and the “Widow’s Grove” requires the St. George Dry Rye gin (which should be back soon!) and the Clear Creek Pear Liqueur. While this latter cocktail is definitely a unique and exciting one, these two ingredients are also worth special mention themselves.
St. George distillery in Alameda, CA, has been around for over 30 years, one of the few small (or “craft”) operations paving the way for the multitude we have now. They produce a range of spirits but unfortunately we in B.C. have access to only a handful. They have three gins to their name, all very distinct from each other. Their more familiar-style “Botanivore” is the top seller here, the “Terroir” made from California wilderness botanicals is a fan-favourite (and one of THE best old fashioneds you will ever have), but I personally got most excited about the “Dry Rye.” This one starts with an unaged rye spirit base and has a much simpler botanical bill yielding a flavour reminiscent of older styles of gin or even genever. I found it to be a perfect base for a cocktail that on paper seems like it should be made with rye whiskey. I needed something with a little more mouthfeel, some spice, and a unique flavour that would stand out.
Now Clear Creek distillery in Portland, OR, has been around almost as long. They focus almost entirely on eau de vie (a spirit that unfortunately has never been popular in North America) and use these as a base for their fruit liqueurs as well. Their pear liqueur, which is pricey and in very short supply, starts with their famous poire base in which they soak fresh pears. There are no words to describe how intensely delicious this product is – it’s perfectly balanced.
Throw in some Amaro Nonino for a little complexity and bitterness and a little Ardbeg 10 Yr Islay Scotch for a smokey finish and you have yourself a “Widow’s Grove.” If you’re intrigued – and you should be – come down and try one soon before we run out of ingredients as this one might not be back again!
And because there always should be, here’s a little music to set the mood: