Last night was the third “stranger” bar on my tour. I was at Salt Wine Bar on Ossington and had a lot of fun and learned some stuff.

Hours before I was scheduled to show up, the man that invited me to work at the bar, Nick Kennedy, called me excitedly about making a Gwai Lo shrub to leave on his bar for the rest of the month. That way he can play around with it and when the time comes, maybe we can feature his drink at Gwai Lo.
The shrub is stewing/infusing/steeping right now at Salt, so I can’t tell you how it will turn out, but it was made with Coconut and Lychee Fruit, so I’m hoping it comes out sweet and tropical but tangy as well.

After starting the shrub, Nick showed me how he makes chamomile caramel for a drink called the Cool Breeze Iced Tea

2oz. Grappa
1oz. Lemon Juice
3/4oz. Lemon Simple Syrup
Top with iced tea
Garnish with piece of Caramel and Lemon wedge

We also made a batch of the house Sangria. I was told not to give away the recipe as it is an old one and I don’t need a anyone’s grandma angry at me. But there was vermouth and brandy and cantaloupe involved.

Then service started and Nick insisted I run a feature cocktail. So I put together something based on what was on the bar. A take  on The White Lily, but I was going for something less obviously boozy and a little more rounded. I called it The Melanie Chisholm. Only one table of girls got the reference.

3/4oz. Beefeater Gin
3/4oz. Kraken Spiced Rum
3/4oz. Grand Marnier
Pernod Rinse
Flamed Lemon Garnish
Stirred, up, in a coupette.

Here is Leah, and old friend and server at Salt enjoying one:

We got a bit of a rush (a small one, but it was Wednesday after-all) around 8pm. At which point Nick was really happy to have me there. This freed him up to spend a little more time with the tables we had and he just verballed orders to me from across the bar and I got to stand there and learn the cocktails by making them, which is always the best way. The same table of girls that got my Spice Girls joke ordered a round of Pulp Fictions. This is a drink that Nick was featured for making last week in The Grid.

1.5oz. Pisco
.5oz. Bianco Vermouth
1oz. Lime Juice
1 tbsp. Cucumber Pulp
2 tsp. Xanthan Gum/Sugar Combination
Shaken, starined (hawthorne only)
Then topped with Cucumber foam and a cucumber husk.

This drink is something entirely new for me. The mouth-feel was so foreign to me. The closest description that I could come up with was something like jello. Dealing with molecular style ingredients is a territory of bartending I’ve never really played around with. That said the drink was delicious and refreshing. I feel like I could drink 4 or 6. Here is Leah again, sampling one.

Dinner service wrapped up and everyone seemed happy with this little experiment. Then my future boss Nick Liu stopped by to let me know that there has been another date added to Bar Tour 2012.
Nick and I will both be at La Carnita on September 23rd. I will make some kind of feature cocktail and he will be making a feature taco (involving Jicama and Octopus).

Next stop, The Drake Hotel tonight. It’s a giant TIFF party (with the drake are really, really good at throwing) but I will be there representing Sailor Jerry. Of course given that I worked there for as long as I did and that I still get along well with all the employees I feel like I should be able to work my way onto the bar at least once throughout the night. Did I mention that there is a 4AM last call?

See you soon.