Brian Stanger has replaced Lara Cresey as mixologist at Shaun’s, and the cocktail list has taken a detour to Weirdsville. At left is Stanger’s Root Down — a take on the Dirty Martini made with Old Tom gin, pickled scallion brine, demerara sugar and a fine, potatoey crust made from salt-and-pepper chips.
I really loved the sweet/salty axis of flavor in this drink, and the way it enhanced the botanicals in the gin. The sweetness was only there to the extent you looked for it but never registered as syrupy on the tongue. To me, that’s a perfectly balanced drink.
But I thought the chips went from fun to annoying pretty quickly. It was like sticking your nose into a bag of Ruffles every time you raised the glass.
Other fascinating oddities on the list include the Monte Bianco made with grappa, pine liqueur and elderflower syrup; and the Shire with calvados, gin and basil syrup. Try one, try ‘em all. I can’t wait.