Lift Your Spirits
For the Gadget Geek
Smoked-Cacao-Nib-infused Sweet Vermouth
from Todd Maul, Café Artscience, Cambridge
Make It: Maul made his name using ambitious tech equipment to create his cocktails, so it’s only appropriate that his twist on a Negroni involves some gadgetry. If you’ve got a smoker and an iSi Cream Whipper at home, read on. (If not? Try this drink the next time you visit Café ArtScience.) Take 2 to 3 tbsp. of smoked cacao nibs, place in an iSi siphon with sweet vermouth (Maul prefers Carpano Antica), charge twice, and let settle for 20 minutes before straining. Store in refrigerator.
Drink It: Incorporate the vermouth into a Negroni.
For the Beginner Bartender
from Markus Yao, Shōjō, Chinatown
Make It: To balance the smokiness of Hakushu Japanese whiskey (or, for something less spendy, scotch) with floral notes, Yao suggests incorporating ¾ oz. of loose-leaf chamomile tea into a bottle of the brown spirit, and letting it steep for half an hour before straining with a coffee filter. “It’s the same concept as making tea,” Yao says of the process. “The higher the quantity of ingredients, the faster the result.”
Drink It: Pour 2 oz. of the spirit over ice, and top with ginger ale.
For the Old-School Imbiber
from Justin Dalton-Ameen, Lulu’s Allston
Make It: “The beauty of infusions is you don’t have to use a super-high-quality product because you’re adding another layer of flavor,” says Dalton-Ameen, who likes mellowing out the burn of bourbon (he prefers Woodford Reserve) by adding 3 to 5 halved fresh figs to a bottle and letting it sit for about a week.
Drink It: Use the fig-infused bourbon the next time you make a Manhattan.
For the Beach Bum
from David Spielberg, The Salty Pig, Back Bay
Make It: For a warm- weather drink that’ll perk up a cold night, Spielberg makes his own falernum, a syrupy, aromatic rum liqueur. He combines 2 c. spiced rum (such as Sailor Jerry), ⅓ c. chopped raw almonds, the zest of 5 limes, 40 cloves, 1 allspice berry, and ½ c. ginger root (peeled and chopped). After one to two days, he strains the mixture and mixes in a syrup (1 c. each lime juice, sugar, and water).
Drink It: Stir into a classic tiki beverage (like a mai tai).