Liquid Diet: Gin Is In
Deck the bar with boughs of juniper. From all-gin cocktail programs to custom formulations, the botanical spirit is spreading cheer all over Boston.
All gin, all the time: Cultivar’s plant-forward concept extends right over to the drink rail, where the restaurant’s entire cocktail program revolves around variations of the juniper-y distillate. Boston’s GrandTen Distilling recently helped the team take it to another level by developing a custom spirit made from foraged white fir tips. Sample it on the rocks with a wedge of lemon or in the Lady Geneva cocktail, a hibiscus-infused take on the French 75.
One Court St., Boston, 617-979-8203, cultivarboston.com.
The country that invented tapas is also known for its icy G & Ts, embellished with intricate garnishes and served up in bulbous goblets. Savor the Spanish craze here in the Hub with the gin-and-tonic menu at Pagu, where the Continental cocktail, in particular, epitomizes chef Tracy Chang’s Basque-Japanese outlook: Served in a recycled sake glass, it layers Gin Mare with sherry, yuzu, muddled shiso, and a splash of Fever Tree.
310 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, 617-945-9290, gopagu.com.
Our Fathers Delicatessen
Come for the reuben, stay for the deep gin selection. Set to open this month, the Franklin Restaurant Group’s latest, a Jewish-style deli, is also “unapologetically a gin bar,” says beverage manager Kayla Quigley. With 80-plus bottles from around the world, the menu highlights the spirit in classic cocktails, as well as more-modern offerings: The W.C. Fields, for instance, blends citrusy Malfy Gin with lemon bitters, cranberry syrup, and a dash of dry Curaçao.
197 N. Harvard St., Allston, 617-303-0101, ourfathersdeli.com.
Bond at the Langham
Looking to add a little extra sparkle to its chandeliered bar, the Langham hotel turned to Bully Boy Distillers for a bespoke spirit that pays homage to the hotel group’s British roots. Poured there exclusively, the new Reserve Gin features grapefruit notes rounded out by delicate botanicals such as rose petal and ginger flower. It makes appearances throughout the cocktail menu in drinks such as the Fitzgerald, a slightly bitter, amaro-spiked spin on the classic Last Word.
250 Franklin St., Boston, 617-451-1900, langhamhotels.com.
When the bar team behind this meze mecca asked Bully Boy to develop a private-label gin, distiller Dave Willis went right to the restaurant’s spice-filled kitchen for inspiration. Several test batches later, his final formulation bursts with exotic notes such as Persian lime, cardamom, and fenugreek. On the cocktail menu, bar manager Hillary Neuman-Ratiu brings out its bright qualities by combining it with lemon and black tea syrup in the Aegean Tea.
249 Pearl St., Somerville, 617-764-4464, sarmarestaurant.com.