Buttered Popcorn Tequila and Other Boozy Infusions Make For Seriously Good Cocktails at Searsucker
|Front -- Latin Cinema, Peter Rabbit; Back -- El Floridita, Coyote|
Of course, nowadays it's possible to buy flavored vodka, but Rouns says, "We don't do that shit here," explaining how much more subtle and true-flavored infusions made with fresh ingredients are than something artificial-tasting like, say, marshmallow vodka.
And then we sample a few of the cocktails, and I find that I'm just as nuts for the Peter Rabbit -- a light, easy refresher made with Pimm's #1 and basil lemonade -- as I am the Latin Cinema. Garnished with an heirloom pickled carrot, this one is a Searsucker signature for good reason, and it's just right for a 78-degree December day. Named for Hemingway's favorite Florida hangout, El Floridita is a daquiri made with hibiscus-infused rum. I've never been a daquiri fan so this one doesn't ring my bell, but the Coyote, a cinnamon-bourbon variant on the Moscow Mule, is absolutely outstanding, providing a little sweetness with a nice dose of warm spice from the cinnamon and foamy effervescence from the ginger beer. A touch of bitters provides balance.
And that's the thing about the cocktails here: there's a culinary underpinning to all of them. Rouns tells me Searsucker's cocktail program was created by Pick & Rocks, a San Diego-based company founded by three hot-shot mixologists -- Jen Queen, Lucien Conner and Ian Ward -- who've bartended at the Grammys as well as for Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. Rouns explains that he and his crew are given a lot of freedom (they're currently experimenting with their own new infusions), adding, "We're not handcuffed by Pick & Rocks but complemented by them."
Hey, whatever the arrangement, it's working for me.