This drink – created by Robyn Gray and Brad Stanton, head bartenders at Prohibition in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia – taps into several of 2017’s cocktail trends: infusions, new white spirits, and mixing multiple spirits together. Note that you can purchase jars of hibiscus flowers in syrup at stores like Gourmet Warehouse, or make your own using the recipe below.
• 2 oz (60 mL) Van Isle spirit pre-mix (see recipe below)
• 1 oz (30 mL) hibiscus syrup, purchased or homemade (see recipe below)
• ½ oz (15 mL) lemon juice
• ½ oz (15 mL) Fernet-Branca
• 2 oz (60 mL) soda water
• Garnish: candied hibiscus flower
Stir spirit pre-mix, syrup, lemon juice and Fernet-Branca together with ice cubes in a Collins glass. Top with soda and stir gently. Add a little crushed ice on top and garnish with a candied hibiscus flower. Serves 1.
Van Isle Spirit Pre-mix
Combine 1 cup (250 mL) each of Gosling’s Black Seal rum, mezcal (preferably Los Siete Misterios Doba-Yej) and bourbon (preferably Wild Turkey) in a large bowl, drink dispenser or pitcher. Stir in 7-8 tsp (35-40 mL) black-tea leaves (or the contents of seven black-tea bags) and let stand, covered, for 24 hours. Fine-strain mixture into a clean glass bottle. Makes about 3 cups (750 mL).
Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup
Bring 4 cups (1 L) water and 4 cups (1 L) demerara sugar just to a boil. Add 1 broken cinnamon stick, 1 scraped vanilla pod, 6 whole allspice pods, and about 2 tbsp (30 mL) crushed kola nut. Stir well, then gently stir in about 4 cups (100 grams) of dried hibiscus flowers (available at health-food stores). Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain through a chinois or a colander lined with cheesecloth. When the syrup is cool, return the hibiscus flowers to the syrup, then place in a large jar, cover, and keep in a cool, dark place for up to three weeks. Makes about 5 cups (1.25 L).
—by Robyn Gray and Brad Stanton